Slideshow image


Eastside Story Guild ended June with a powerful and thoughtful teen performance, Women and War.  Larisse and the teens were amazing in showing how war has affected the lives of women through this past century, and Larisse will be greatly missed as she steps down as ESG Director to pursue other opportunities for herself in theatre and acting.  Larisse expressed that what she will miss the most about the job are the children and teens, so if anyone wants to keep in touch then please feel free to contact her at, instead of her old e-mail at  


On that note, the ESG Advisory Committee is very pleased to introduce our new Program Director, Melanie Colenutt, and our new Artistic Director, Jen Sneller, and to reintroduce our Music Director, Curtis Mathewson


Introducing Our New ESG Team

Many of you will know Melanie as she helped write the script and volunteered with ESG this past season.  However, for those of you who have not yet met her, Melanie was born and raised on unceded Coast Salish territories and has always lived in East Vancouver. She did her undergrad in literature and history at UBC, spent a bit of time at art school, and completed her MDiv at Regent College in 2011. Currently the Children’s Pastor at Grandview Calvary Baptist Church, Melanie loves engaging children in sacred story, and is most content when telling, reading, or listening to good stories. She also enjoys tending (with varying degrees of success) to an overgrown garden of kale, tomatoes, strawberries, and purple-podded shelling peas, can often be found acting out scenes from The Hobbit with her housemates’ children, and loves celebrating the seasons of the church year. She is keenly excited to be joining with Jen, Curtis, the community of ESG volunteers and supporters, and especially with the children of Eastside in telling biblical stories.
Jen Sneller is new to our community, but her enthusiasm for theatre is contagious from the moment one first meets her. Jen was born in Edmonton and in grade six was cast as the toy doll in her elementary Christmas play. She has loved theatre ever since. During her formative years, Jen was a theatre geek and found her confidence, community, and passion around the stage.  Acting and directing also gave Jen a picture of God’s creativity, expressiveness and love for story and laughter. Jen received a Bachelors of Education in Drama and English from the University of Alberta, and moved to Vancouver to teach theatre after she graduated. She has taught and directed in Texas, Switzerland, Holland, Kuwait, Thailand, and the lower mainland. She loves to adventure and see as much beauty as she can. Jen is constantly blown away by God’s creativity and is thankful He instilled some of it in her. She feels most alive and closest to Him when creating, and hopes to help others find their creative spark. Last year she went back to school to study expressive arts therapy so that she can continue to pursue what she loves most. Directing is her passion and she loves bringing a story to life and creating images on stage. Most of all she loves working with youth, because they are so uninhibited, daring and fun. She loves how the process of creating a show creates community, empowers, instills confidence, allows expression and freedom, and is perspective altering. When she’s not in the theatre, you can find her making forts with her 2 sons and husband, hunting down Mexican food trucks, and belting out Mariah Carey songs. Jen is ridiculously excited for her new role as ESG Artistic Director and looks forward to meeting all the actors!  She is grateful to use her experience, education, and passion at ESG - a position she described as “her dream gig” after she saw her first ESG performance.
Curtis Mathewson is the musical backbone of ESG. A percussionist, composer and educator, Curtis is entering his 11th year as the Music Director for Eastside Story Guild, and he is excited to continue to work with an amazing group of children and youth. In addition to his work with ESG, Curtis teaches music in Vancouver schools and is an Orff music education specialist. He was the music director and a performer with SWARM, an action drumming ensemble that mixed movement with music, using invented instruments. When not making music, Curtis enjoys kayaking, baking bread, and spending time with his wife and two young children.


Transitions can be hard, especially when ESG has been fortunate to have been so well led and supported in the past.  However, we are excited about the new leadership team that is forming at ESG and their desire to continue to nurture the wonder and imagination of Biblical storytelling.  
Many thanks,
Trish Jakoy
On behalf of the ESG Advisory Committee