All about Trickster

Trickster Theatre is a not-for-profit organization based out of Calgary, Alberta. We create fun, engaging and effective learning through physical theatre. 


Our journey began in the early 80’s when our founders, David and Sheryl Chantler, hit the road to bring a theatre show to schools and festivals across the country. Audiences adored the shows because of their fun, improvisational nature and audience interaction! 

Since that time, we have developed our unique Artist-in-Schools Residency Program. Over the years, we gathered artists to our ranks with different backgrounds and training in a variety of performance styles such as clowning, physical theatre, improv, and dance. As a result of our combined experiences, the company has gained strength and vibrancy. The name Trickster Theatre reflects our clown roots and the fun and innovative process that we have formed over the years. We continue to add new theatre styles and techniques every year.

The company currently has 2 companies touring the province.  In the past 34 years we have done more than 1300 week-long residencies.  We have done them in more than 75% of all the communities in Alberta, including over 120 residencies in 25 different Indigenous communities. More than 350,000 Albertans of all ages have spent a week creating theatre with Trickster. The company is the largest provider of Artist in School Residencies in Alberta. 

The company is also focused on the creation of theatre based tools for learning, especially in the areas of Science, Storytelling, and Global Issues and we have been involved in Educational Research with the U of C and the Rozsa Foundation. We are proud to have played a significant role in the development of the Arts in Education sector in Alberta.

Our Team



Producing Director

David founded Trickster in 1980. He trained in clowning, mime, improv and devised theatre in Canada, Mexico, San Francisco and Denmark. He has directed and produced hundreds of shows for Trickster Theatre.  David is the recipient of the 2017 Rozsa Award for Excellence in Arts Management, as well as co-recipient of the 2017 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre for Young Audiences,  and in 2022 was awarded the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee award for Outstanding Service to the province of Alberta.

Sheryl Chantler


Sheryl has been with the company since 1982 and has a dance degree from Scripps College in California. She has trained with Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham in New York, with Richard Fowler at the Odin Theatre in Denmark, and with Whoopi Goldberg in San Francisco. Sheryl is the originator of our version of many of the big physical theatre styles that are so popular with schools – like Black Light and Shadow Theatre. Sheryl is the co-recipient of the 2017 Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre for Young Audiences.

Michelle Kaufmann


Michelle spent over 25 years in many different business sectors honing her customer service expertise and systems management experience. While running her own award-winning film production company, she moved from the systems side of things to working with customers on their marketing plans and helping tell their story. These skills have transitioned to a solid understanding of a customer’s needs and how to make them a reality. Michelle also has experience as a writer, director, camera operator and editor.

Daunia Del Ben - Headshot

DAunia DEl Ben


Daunia has her MFA in Drama from University of Alberta. She specialized in Physical Theatre and especially Commedia Dell’Arte and Clowning.

After her MFA, Daunia worked in Cochrane as an Arts and Culture Manager Consultant where she organized theatre seasons, theatre summer camps and arts events/cultural festivals.
Daunia worked in France and Italy for 10 years in Corporate Theatre acting, directing and producing customized plays. She won several awards as best Director and best Actor. 

Advisory Board