FESTA! is getting a re-mount! One night only at Casa Verde Restaurant on December 1st, 2017 – come experience the 2016 Fringe Festival hit show. FESTA! An Evening of Portuguese Comedy + Culture will be welcoming other Portuguese artists: dancers, musicians, singers and visual artists as part of this evening of fun and FESTA!             (Photo below: Micah Reid)

Continuing to explore her Portuguese roots, 2016 saw Maria co-writing and producing/starring in the successful run of FESTA! at the 2016 Vancouver’s International Fringe Festival with fellow Portuguese-Canadian actor, Sandra Medeiros.  Click on PORTUGUESE BUNS PRODUCTIONS for more information on the shows, along with our amazing reviews and audience feedback!

* FESTA! touring across Canada and the World *


In July 2016, Maria produced and starred in the first installment  of the collaborative independent feature film project The Parties. Over 2 years in the making, the writing team was excited to finally shoot in the summer! Thanksgiving is currently in the edit suite as we explore funding options to complete filming. Trailers and more information here. 

(Photo, right, of the SMAK! Productions team: Sarah Kathryn Young, Maria J. Cruz, Arianna McGregor and Kel Salerno)

Maria booked a role in the much anticipated ABC TV miniseries, When We Rise, chronicling the LGBT movement, written and produced by Oscar winners Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black. She shares the small screen with none other than Whoopi Goldberg!

Maria was also Assistant director of the almost sold-out run of the United Players production of the comedic Russian classic, The Government Inspector, by Nikolai Gogal. It ran in April of 2016 at the Jericho Arts Centre.



Maria played the lead female role in Moliere’s The Imaginary Invalid at the Jericho Arts Centre in June. As the sassy maid Toinette, to Moliere’s hypochondriac, Argan, she received great reviews, most notably in the Vancouver Courier and reviewVancouver.

(Photo right: Doug Williams)




2014: The highlight was performing her one-woman show at the Azores International Fringe Festival on the island of Pico, Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – a piece exploring her life as a Portuguese-Canadian artist, and her relationship to her homeland.

(Photo right: with Artistic Director, Terry Costa)

Maria also starred in a number of film and television roles from Christmas movies, to the Hallmark channel and even Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce! Check our her IMDB below.



In 2013 Maria voiced the role of Carmen in a series of nation-wide radio spots for Panago Pizza…have a listen below:


Equally at home on stage as she is on set, Maria is a graduate of the UBC Theatre program, and continues to hone her skills in classes with some of the top acting instructors in Vancouver, Toronto and LA.  Access credits and videos in the links below:

Jingle All the Way 2, Video on Demand
Package Deal, CityTV
Psych, USA Network
cougar bar
The Cougar Bar, S-Lo Productions
When We Rise, Part II Maria J. Cruz, Latina #1
When We Rise, ABC TV

UBCP Awards, 2016

Past favourite theatre credits include:

  • Tina in Tony’n’Tina’s Wedding, Hoarse Raven Theatre
  • B.S. Episodes 4 & 6, SitCompany at Second City, Toronto
  • The Ends of the Earth, UBC Theatre, Frederic Wood
  • Lion in the Streets, UBC ESS, Vancouver Little Theatre
  • Lysistrata, United Players


  • “But there’s some very good work from this mainly non-professional cast; professionals include John Prowse and Maria J. Cruz (as Toinette), … who’s pulling the strings. Maria J. Cruz, black curls bobbing and just about popping out of her royal blue low-cut gown, sparkles in the role.” Jo Ledingham’s Theatre Reviews. 2015.
  • Maria played the role of Sylvia in the United Players production of The Soldier’s Fortune directed by Hoarse Raven Theatre’s Micheal Fera. She was cited as “delightful” by the Courier’s Jo Ledingham and “a great interpreter of restoration text” by’s Ed Farolan. 2009.
  • Maria performed as ‘mistress’ of ceremonies in the original ensemble production Madonna in My Mind for the Pride in Arts Festival at the Roundhouse in Vancouver. Directed by Terry Costa, the performance was touted as: “The most diverse cast seen on a Vancouver stage. Congrats on a great production.” and Maria was singled out with – “The dominatrix actress was great with her one-liners throughout the show. Nice touch.” – Audience. 2009.
  • Maria performed in the well-received and glowingly reviewed Volpone as Lady Politic Would-Be, directed by John Murphy for United Players at the Jericho Arts Centre.“The greatest grasp of how to speak at such a volume is shown by Maria J. Cruz, who is hilarious as the screeching parrot-like Lady Politik.”  – Peter Birnie, The Vancouver Sun: Saturday, April 12, 2008.
  • She also was seen in Itsazoo’s short play festival Four Course Meal at the Havana Theatre in a series of comical cameos in Baggage by Montreal playwright Sebastien Archibald. The play was described by the Westender’s Andrea Warner as “at turns brilliant and vulgar…hilarious and heartbreaking.” November 2008.

Maria is represented by:

Brad Mellesmoen / Talent Manager + Shannen McGreevy / Voice Agent +
Tel: 604-685-0345
6 – 1238 Homer Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2Y5