• Janna Stepanova
      Director & Producer

      Janna Stepanova

      Director & Producer

      Janna Stepanova was born in an artistic family: her father was a professional
      violinist, singer and vocal coach, her mother was a ballerina and a choreographer.
      Ms. Stepanova’s concurrent education included graduating from an acting studio
      and the Institute of Foreign Languages, and afterwards became a Show & Programs
      Producer at Moscow Institute of Modern Art and graduated from London School of
      Public Relations.
      In Moscow, Ms. Stepanova worked as Event Stage Director, hosted TV programs,
      and worked as a PR Director in large companies and PR Agencies. Prior to moving
      to Canada, Ms. Stepanova was the Head of Moscow office and Director of Social
      Program “World Without Violence”, and her last project was the highly popular
      “Smeshariki” – Russian family-oriented cartoon series for younger children.
      Ms. Stepanova arrived in Canada in 2005 and became actively involved in the life of
      Russian-speaking community: she wrote articles for Russian-language media,
      participated in public event planning and organizing. She conducted several
      marketing campaigns, including the creation of a new image and logo for Russian
      Chamber of Commerce and Yummy Market.
      In 2007, together with Russian Express newspaper and publishing house, Ms.
      Stepanova organized and coordinated the Essay Contest in Russian language. The
      Finale was staged as a massive celebration for kids & families, attended by over
      350 people. This is how the idea for Toronto’s Main Yolka/New Year’s Musical
      Celebration was born, which became the largest traditional New Year/Holiday
      Season event for the entire family. In 2008, the Toronto’s Main Yolka was
      conceptualized and executed by Janna Stepanova and her partner Anastasia
      Mekhmandarova with the generous support of Yummy Market. Mr. Sergei Priselkov,
      Russia’s Distinguished Actor was summoned from Montreal to play the role of Ded
      Moroz (Grandfather Frost from Russian New Year folklore). The very first Yolka
      “Breakfast with Ded Moroz” took place in Meron Banquet Hall (currently The Avenue
      Banquet Hall) and hosted over 700 kids & parents. In December 2019, National
      Banquet Hall, one of Russian community’s largest event spaces, hosted the 10 th
      Toronto’s Main Yolka. Every year the annual Yolka New Year performance gathers
      new audiences and hosts more and more guests. Throughout these years, under
      Janna Stepanova’s guidance, the audiences had a chance to enjoy 6 musical
      productions in Russian, featuring professional artists and Toronto’s best
      performance collectives.
      In 2011 Janna Stepanova was invited to produce the Rising Stars Youth Contest,
      which became a great success and lead to the idea of creating her own performing
      academy. Therefore, in October 2011, Star Kids Agency and Star School, Academy
      of Music and Theatre were born (initially it was called Cool School).
      The Academy’s primary goal is to provide kids and teens with quality instructions in
      vocal training, dance and acting, as well as active application of acquired skills on
      stage for all students – participating in musical theatre productions, concerts, and
      TV programs. During the very first year of Star School Academy’s existence, its
      students staged and performed in the musical theatre production at Toronto’s Main
      Yolka New Year production, had a great success in Toronto City Hall during the WWII
      Victory Day celebration and travelled to New York City to wow the audiences with
      their skills and talents. For 11 years, Janna Stepanova is Star Schools Academy’s
      Creative Director, as well as the main Producer of all performances and musical
      productions. Ms. Stepanova had strict guidelines and pays very close attention to
      selecting the most talented and experienced educational staff for the Academy,
      since the right teacher is the guarantee of the students’ success. Some of the
      School’s best educations include Stanislas Vitort, Margarita Romko, Aya Stolnits,
      and many others
      Star School Academy is a regular guest at major annual events in Toronto’s city life:
      WWII Victory Day at Nathan Phillips Square in the heart of our city, traditional
      greeting, and performance for the WWII War Veterans on May 9th; Toronto’s Main
      Yolka New Year’s Performance – the most significant and favorite event of the
      Holiday Season for Russian-speaking Toronto kids and families; and, of course, the
      trip to Washington’s Festival of Russian-speaking Theatres! In 2015 Start School
      Academy represented Toronto for the very first time and received 3 Awards!
      And, of course, the annual Grand Finale School Concert by the students – every year
      it features over 20 songs in Russian, English, French and Italian!