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About Centauri Arts

Centauri Arts began 23 years ago as an overnight summer camp located in the Niagara Region of Ontario. The goal was to create an arts community where youth from all over the world could come together to take specialised arts programs. Centauri Summer Arts Camp quickly grew into the flourishing arts community it is today – over 40 arts programs are offered each summer for more than 500 children and teens. Centauri Arts later expanded to offer International arts tours for youth, an arts fundraising project to build a school in India, and an adult arts retreat. Opening its doors for the first time in October 2012, the Centauri Arts Academy offers young people and adults the opportunity to take year-round classes with many of the same instructors. Our goal remains the same: to bring people together through the arts, melding top notch arts training with the opportunity to participate in a thriving creative community. 

Centauri Arts Academy space

About our staff

Craig Hartley – Director

Craig Hartley has a degree in Business, and more than twenty years’ experience in Business and Arts Management, including as the Business Director for Centauri Summer Arts Camp. He has directed and led numerous international tours for Centauri Arts.

Julie Hartley – Director & Writing / Theatre Instructor

Julie Hartley is a poet, playwright, acting teacher, storyteller and theatre director. She was Head of Drama at Leicester Grammar School in England, and Havergal College here in Toronto, before working with the Department of Drama and Speech Communication at the University of Waterloo for more than a decade, as sessional instructor for acting courses, and guest director for mainstage productions. Julie’s poetry and short stories have appeared in literary magazines in Canada and England, and she was the 2010 recipient of the International Peace Prize for her poetry. Julie’s plays have toured across England and Ireland, and have been staged by schools, youth theatres and colleges throughout Ontario. She has served as the resident Artistic Director of Centauri Summer Arts Camp for the past 24 years, directing productions, designing arts programs and training arts staff. Julie teaches components of the Creative Writing and Theatre courses for the Centauri Arts Academy. Her novel for middle grade readers – The Finding Place – was published by Red Deer Press in September 2015.

Glenn Clifton - Writing Instructor

Glenn Clifton is a professor of literary studies at Sheridan College, where he teaches creative writing and literature classes. He has a Master's Degree in Playwriting from Boston University and a PhD in English from the University of Toronto. A member of the Centauri community since 1996, Glenn is thrilled to be involved with the Arts Academy!

James McDougall - Film Instructor

James is an actor and filmmaker based in Toronto. He has acted in numerous feature films, short films, TV Shows, web series, and commercials. Some recent credits include the feature film “ABCs Of Death 2” where he worked under acclaimed director Vincenzo Natali as the lead actor in segment U, as a lead in AlterSpec Films award winning thriller “American Drone” (now online), and as Jack in the comedy/horror feature “SOS: Save Our Skins”. “SOS” and is on FEARnet in the U.S., on Bite TV in Canada and on BBC World in the UK. James has also spent the last 4 years working at Mountain Man Media where he has worn many hats on various productions. He has had jobs ranging from directing, writing, editing and producing, to recording sound, operating cameras, and holding the boom. James has worked behind the camera in a creative and technical capacity on many short films, features, and web series. Another important thing to note is that James was a camper at Centauri many years ago. He took the acting for camera course at the age of 12.


Cullen McFater - Film Instructor

Cullen McFater is a director, cinematographer and actor. Currently, he has the role of writer and director on an upcoming international feature film, shooting in Toronto, Los Angeles, Barcelona, London and Bangalore. He is also working on two other personal films that will be entered into film festivals around the world. Cullen runs his own production company, Postromo Pictures (founded in 2014), which has amassed over 160,000 views online. He has worked as a camera operator, cinematographer, production assistant and creative consultant on indie-films such as The Twilight Ride, Grim Trigger, Mixed and After Island, as well as writing and directing close to a dozen of his own films. Cullen is completing a degree in Cinema Studies at the University of Toronto, and in the coming months will work as a cinematographer and camera operator on various film productions, ranging from sci-fi’s to crime dramas.

Cullen has a long history with Centauri, having taken intensive Film Production programs at Centauri Summer Arts Camp between 2010 and 2014. In 2017, he returned as a staff member for a season, working in the film department and teaching workshops in film. When he is not making movies, Cullen also has an interest in acting, and in addition to lead roles in Ragtime and Hairspray, he has appeared onstage with Second City and Bad Dog Theatre. He worked as both an assistant and class instructor in the Film Production program at the Arts Academy for the 2017-18 academic year and is thrilled to be returning to our teaching faculty for the second year.

Lauren Saunders - Theatre & Clown Instructor

Lauren holds her Master's degree in Professional Acting from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and her B.Ed from Queen's University. Recently returned from the UK, Lauren works onstage, onscreen, and in the recording studio. Her shows have taken her to theatres all across the North and Southwest of England. She is the voice of Dolby Digital's Beat Your Best campaign, and records audiobooks for Bolinda Audio and Amazon Audible. Her latest audiobook, Robin Wasserman's 'Girls on Fire' is now available internationally. When she's not performing, Lauren is a drama and French teacher. This is her 15th year with Centauri.