Since 2019 the RBC Foundation has been steadfast in their support of Theatre Alberta’s programs and services for emerging artists–namely Emerge and Artstrek–even as we had to cancel, postpone, and reimagine new delivery models and services to ensure young and emerging artists remained supported and valued during the COVID-19 pandemic. And we’re thrilled to have the RBC Foundation’s generous contribution again this year, as we both return to an in-person Emerge and Artstrek and continue the mentorship program for Indigenous, Black, and Emerging Artists of Colour that their ongoing support in 2020 and 2021 helped us pilot and develop!
“At RBC, we invest in and value the arts as one way to help encourage creativity, innovation and vibrancy locally. We are especially proud to support Theatre Alberta and offer programs to help artists bridge the gap from emerging to established, and advance their career.” ~ Ron Sauve, Regional Vice President, Alberta Central, RBC
Theatre Alberta’s Emerge is a general audition showcase of graduates from post-secondary acting training programs from across the province. Emerge helps to foster relationships between emerging artists and the professional theatre community in Alberta. This April Emerge featured graduates from 2020, 2021, and 2022, all of whom had the opportunity to meet and audition for industry professionals in both Calgary and Edmonton. Since 2004, Emerge has been a key milestone in the artistic journey of more than 1,000 Albertan actors, marking their transition from theatre students to theatre artists.
“My experience with Emerge Calgary and Edmonton this year opened my eyes to more talented people emerging in this industry. It was a blast to connect with theatre companies I have been longing to work with and having most of them all in one space to see me! Though I was nervous, I was equally excited to get acquainted with folks! I have also had the privilege of both attending Artstrek as a camper, and recently participating as a Super, and both experiences could not top the other. Artstrek is a home and starting ground for many young artists, it gives you a place to play, collaborate, and use your imagination to the next level. It was such a highlight to my year!” ~ Kijo Eunice Gatama, Edmonton-based professional actor and producer
Each year, Theatre Alberta hires former Artstrek students to return to the program as Supervisors. The Supervisor Team is an integral part of our summer theatre school, leading fun activities and providing mentorship and guidance to the participants. Supervisors are themselves young people, often on the cusp of making important developmental and career decisions. Many are students in post-secondary Drama or Education programs. Being an Artstrek Supervisor is more than a job, it’s a chance to connect with established artists, bond with future colleagues, and develop skills they’ll use in future artistic pursuits.
“Artstrek has had a profound impact on my development in the arts. As a young adult working in several different aspects of the performing arts – performance, stage management, direction, administration, education, and outreach – I have Artstrek to thank for giving me all the tools to succeed. I take the sense of community, collaboration, and creativity that was fostered at Artstrek with me into every job I take on now as a portfolio artist. Artstrek has offered me a safe and nurturing community as well as the encouragement and motivation to pursue my dreams. Without Artstrek, I would not be the artist and person I am today.” ~ Sean Haid, Calgary-based theatre artist
Last year with the support of the RBC Foundation, we paired ten IBPOC emerging artists from the Emerge and Artstrek communities with ten IBPOC mentors–creating meaningful connections that were specific to the artists’ current needs and interests. A huge thank you to our 2021 mentors Sheldon Elter, Mari Chartier, Trey Anthony, Cheryl Foggo, Kristen Padayas, Mukonzi Musyoki, Josh Languedoc, Ruth Wong-Miller, Simone A. Medina Polo, and Michelle Todd. We are looking forward to another successful year ahead with new artists and new
“The IBPOC mentorship program was a delightful experience as an arts educator. I was able to pass down my knowledge of arts and cultural management as well as philosophy to my mentee in a manner that it would help her development as an artistic producer as well as her own contemplations of ethics and aesthetics in her practice. From the principles of project management to discussions on burnout and community relations, this experience was thoroughly engaging and irreplaceable.” ~ Simone A. Medina Polo, Edmonton-based arts professional and philosopher, 2021 Mentor, and NEW Theatre Alberta employee
The RBC Foundation recognizes the vital role the arts play in our communities, and they understand the need to ensure our future artists are given the chance to develop and thrive. With the support of the Foundation, Theatre Alberta will continue to provide exceptional leadership, mentorship, and networking opportunities to emerging artists from across the province. We are honoured to work together with the RBC Foundation to foster the next
generation of Albertan theatre artists.
For more information on RBC’s commitment to community, please visit: