Theatre Alberta Announces A Change In The Artstrek Leadership Team

Theatre Alberta is excited to announce an important change in the Artstrek leadership team–we welcome Jenna Rodgers to the Artstrek Director role, as we thank Marie Gynane-Willis for her leadership and stewardship over the years.
 
Artstrek is Theatre Alberta’s annual summer theatre school that offers an integrated theatre arts curriculum for Albertan teens. Since its inception in 1960, thousands of students from across the province have attended to learn performance and creativity skills in a safe and inclusive environment. We’re proud of Artstrek’s legacy, and of these two incredible people who have and will contribute to its continued success.
 

First to thank Marie:

We are humbled by the contributions Marie has made to both Artstrek and Theatre Alberta. Her connection to Artstrek goes back decades, beginning as an instructor in 1983. Before becoming Artstrek Director, Marie served as Theatre Alberta’s Executive Director from 2003 to 2010. Her extraordinary abilities in that role, as well as her continuing support of the arts community as a whole, were recognized in 2004 with an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Arts Administration and an Alberta Centennial Medal for Contribution to the Arts in 2006. In 2016, under Marie’s leadership, Arstrek was awarded an Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award for Outstanding Contribution to Theatre in Edmonton.

Marie’s impact on Artstrek is indelible. Her knowledge of the program’s long history, her deep connections to the arts community in Alberta, and her gift for diplomacy are all great strengths that have enriched Artstrek during her tenure. Perhaps her greatest strength, however, is her heart. Her deep love of Artstrek, its staff, and every single student that attended is an enduring legacy that will undoubtedly resonate long into the school’s future.
 
“Each summer hundreds of teenagers from across Alberta tell us they come “home” to Artstrek. It’s no coincidence that Marie Gynane-Willis comes from a home building family. Marie has seen Artstrek from blueprints through renovations and additions, always focussed on what makes a home so special, a safe space to live your fullest life with room to grow. On behalf of all of us who’ve had the opportunity to watch thousands of young Albertans discover their potential and passion for theatre during Marie’s tenure, thank you, Marie. It has been an immeasurable honour.”
~ Keri Mitchell, Executive Director, and Kelly Reay, Board President
 

And to welcome Jenna:

Jenna Rodgers is well known throughout the Alberta theatre community. She is respected as a director, dramaturg, and passionate arts equity advocate. Jenna is the founding Artistic Director of Chromatic Theatre, and the Dramaturg at the Banff Playwright’s Lab at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. She is also a founding member of the Consent and Respect in Theatre Collective, a co-contributor to The 35//50 Initiative, and recent Board President of Theatre Alberta. We’re proud to say that Jenna is an Artstrek alumnus and a former “Super Super.”
 
“Jenna’s contributions to Theatre Alberta—first as an Artstrek Supervisor and more recently as a volunteer on our New Pathways for the Arts team and our Board of Directors—have strengthened the organization in many exciting ways. And so many more artists and theatre companies across Alberta and Canada (and further!) would say the same! Jenna’s clear vision for a more just, equitable, and inclusive future for all of us, but especially for Artstrek students, is offered with infectious generosity and accountability. We are beyond thrilled to continue working with Jenna in this new capacity.”
~ Keri Mitchell, Executive Director, and Kelly Reay, Board President
 
We are excited for Jenna to share her experience, vision, and leadership skills with Artstrek. We’re also certain that the characteristic Artstrek values – inclusivity, camaraderie, creativity, fun – that have made it a defining experience for so many students over the program’s 60 year history will continue to thrive under her leadership.
 
We offer our most profound gratitude to Marie for sharing her wisdom and guidance with us over the last 17+ years, and we know that we will continue to work with her in new and exciting ways in the future. To Jenna, we offer an enthusiastic welcome. We look forward to working together with her to continue offering exceptional learning opportunities to the next generation of theatre artists through the Artstrek program.
 
We are making plans for Artstrek 2021 with a heartfelt hope that we will be able to gather again next summer, but we do so with the conviction that we will not risk or compromise the health and safety of staff and students. Watch for more Artstrek announcements in the near future. In the meantime please stay safe, and stay healthy.
 
 

The 9th Annual Theatre Alberta Gift-A-Play is On Now!

purple christmas background with images of various plays
Do you love to read plays? To have the scene on the page take shape in your imagination? Or to find inspiration in a technical tome that you know will make an audience gasp? To find the story you need to share with your community, right now? Us too!
 
Over the last eight holiday seasons Theatre Alberta’s amazing donors have helped us provide these experiences for the theatre community by contributing hundreds of new titles to the Theatre Alberta Library through our annual Gift-A-Play Campaign. You can make even more discoveries possible by participating in this year’s 9th Annual Gift-A-Play.

WHAT IS GIFT-A-PLAY?

Theatre Alberta works hard to ensure that our Library is up-to-date and relevant for members of the theatre community. We keep track of requests from our members, make note of recently published titles, and put together a ‘wish list’ of items that we want to add to the collection. We purchase many of the titles, but it’s simply not possible to buy *everything* we want! 
 
You can help us fulfill our wish list by contributing to our annual Gift-A-Play campaign. Help us purchase scripts and other theatre books that we can then share with theatre people across Alberta! This year, our wish list includes 34 titles, including:
  • Acha Bacha by Bilal Baig
  • The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy, Siobhan Arnatsiaq-Murphy, and Janet Tamalik McGrath
  • Kung Fu by David Henry Hwang
  • Little Red Warrior and His Lawyer: A Satirical Land Claim Fable by Kevin Loring
  • Sound of the Beast by Donna-Michel St. Bernard
  • Winning Monologs For Young Actors by Peg Kehret 

GIVING TO GIFT-A-PLAY IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT THIS YEAR

In the past, we’ve asked you to purchase items from our wish list directly from retailers and publishers. This year, we’re asking that you donate the cost of each item through the Canada Helps fundraising platform, and we’ll take care of purchasing and shipping the item(s) of your choice.
 
We’re using Canada Helps’ event platform for the campaign, so each item on our wish-list appears as a ‘ticket.’ The ‘tickets’ simply represent the item you wish to donate to the Theatre Alberta Library – there’s no event! For each donation you will receive a tax receipt for the full amount that you’ve given as well as a souvenir ‘digital ticket’ to the ‘event’ that doesn’t exist!
 
Once we’ve received your donation for a Library book, we’ll purchase it on your behalf. It will then become part of the Theatre Alberta Library and will be available for all of our members to read and enjoy! To acknowledge your donation, each item that was purchased will bear your name on the inside cover.

If you’d like to know more about the titles on our list, you can browse through the items on our wish list details page. Once you’ve decided on an item that you’d like to donate to the Library, head over to the Canada Helps page and find the corresponding title, purchase your ‘ticket’, and we’ll take care of the rest.
 
Now with more than 23,000 titles in the collection, the Theatre Alberta Library remains the largest fully-circulating theatre library in the country. Help us ensure it stays that way by donating to the 9th Annual Gift-A-Play donation campaign!
 
 

Theatre Alberta Commits To Participation in The 35//50 Initiative YYC and YEG

Theatre Alberta extends deep gratitude and support to the theatre and arts community members across Alberta—specifically in Moh’kins’tsis (also known as Calgary) in Treaty 7 and Amiskwaciwâskahikan (also known as Edmonton) in Treaty 6—who have come together to craft and present a gift for the future of theatre in Alberta. The 35//50 Initiative in each of Alberta’s major urban centres is offering a clear and generous path towards community commitment and accountability in addressing systemic employment inequities in the theatre industry.
 
The 35//50 Initiative has asked Theatre Alberta and many of our group members to commit to a set of organizational beliefs and policies, rooted in anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices. These commitments will result in 35%+ of staff and contractors who identify as Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour and 50%+ of staff and contractors who identify as female and non-binary by the 2024/2025 theatre season. This timeline is achievable, and comes from artists and community members whose exclusion, tokenization, and pain has been visible, loud, and palpable for generations. This is a gift.
 
Theatre Alberta will both uphold the beliefs and commitments of The 35//50 Initiative and support all of our participating members across the province in doing the same. We will hold community accountable, and we expect community to do the same for us. While the Initiative is designed for participation from professional theatre companies in our province’s two major urban centres, it is also possible for community theatres and theatre educators across Alberta to participate as well. This is a gift.
 
From Theatre Alberta, you can expect to see additional action across our organization—our board of directors, our employed staff, our contracted artists and educators, and our programs and services. We have a lot of work to do in service of these commitments. In the short-term, we will prepare and publicly share the requested demographic information at the end of the 2020/2021 season, along with an action plan that will be created by our board and staff members. We are excited to develop and share our plans, and to see yours. We are excited to work together in community in support of The 35//50 Initiative.
 
From all of us at Theatre Alberta—Thank You to The 35//50 Initiative YYC and YEG for the offering you are making to our provincial theatre community!
 
 

Webinar (Alberta): Health and Safety for Theatre Workers: An Approach to Anti-Oppressive Practices During a Pandemic with Gina Puntil and Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull

Theatre Alberta is thrilled to offer Webinars by Request: Webinars for a New World. This series of webinars is intended to address both technical challenges and  philosophical questions of equity and process, as we investigate the new theatre world we want to have when venues reopen. The next workshop in this series is:
 

Health and Safety for Theatre Workers: An Approach to Anti-Oppressive Practices During a Pandemic

with Gina Puntil and Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull from the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre 

Thursday, August 20, and Friday, August 21 from 1:00pm – 2:30pm each day. These sessions will include different information and time for Q&A.


 
Decisions that are made in the workplace can effect you and your fellow workers, so it’s important to be able to protect yourself and others.  Knowing your rights in the workplace, the focus of Day 1, is one of the ways that a worker can do that. Day 2 will explore how a worker can participate in creating a fair, healthy, and safe workplace. 
 
As there is an expectation and desire to do a good job when we go to work, there should also be an expectation and desire to be treated fairly, safely, and with respect.

About THE INSTRUCTORS

Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull head shot

Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull
Photo by Janice Saxon – janicesaxon.com

JARED MATSUNAGA-TURNBULL
Executive Director – Alberta Workers’ Health Centre

Jared has been with the AWHC since 2006, developing and delivering Workplace Health and Safety and workers’ rights education programming for workers and Health and Safety activists across the province. He has over 25 years of experience in popular education and social action theatre with and for marginalized populations.
 
Prior to stepping into the role of Executive Director, he was responsible for the AWHC’s Work Plays Schools Program (for Young Workers) and the New Alberta Workers program (for Temporary Foreign Workers, immigrants and refugees). Recently he has worked on developing the AWHC’s Health and Committee Training program.
 
Before working for the AWHC, Jared made his living as a professional theatre artist as an actor, director, dramaturg, and playwright. He was an award-wining Artistic Co-Director of Edmonton’s Concrete Theatre, and is a published playwright. He is particularly interested in how labour can use the arts to engage, mobilize and push for social and economic justice.
 
Jared has health and safety education from the UofA’s OHS Certificate Program, but most of his education comes from labour schools and union education through the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Canadian Labour Congress and various District Labour Councils. He now teaches at these same labour schools. A proud member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 474, Jared is also a Co-Chair of both the CUPE Alberta and CUPE National H&S Committees.
 
Jared sits on local, provincial and national worker-focused health and safety committees and working groups that share information, research, resources and make recommendations for policy change. He is also a worker representative on the GoA’s newly-established Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Council, which is tasked with making recommendations to the Minister of Labour and Immigration.
 
Jared lives in Edmonton with his wife and two children. He sort of plays the ukulele and has been experimenting with making sourdough bread, with some success.
 
Gina Puntil head shot

Gina Puntil
Photo by Janice Saxon – janicesaxon.com

GINA PUNTIL
Artistic Director / Program Coordinator – Work Plays Schools Program
Alberta Workers’ Health Centre

Gina is a proud Filipino-Canadian based in Amiskwacîwâskahikan on Treaty 6 Territory in an area that has been colonially claimed as “Edmonton, Alberta.”  As a first generation born in Canada she continues to navigate through her relationship with this land; the celebration, the gratitude, and the shame. 

 Through her work Gina is always trying to expand the relation space on the Venn diagram of Community, Workers’ Rights, Arts Practice, Social Justice, and Basic Life Needs. Being a member of the artEquity 2016 cohort helped solidify her charge with their value of ‘art cannot exist without community, and community cannot exist without justice.’ 
 
For the past 11years Gina has been permanent staff with the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre (anniversary is April 1st – no foolin’) and was an occasional contracted worker with them for 3 years prior as a Stage Manager.  Since 2013, she has been the Artistic Director and Program Coordinator for the AWHC’s Work Plays Schools Program which brings the important message of Workplace Safety and Workers’ Rights wrapped in a professionally sculpted live theatre production to students and new workers.  Most recently the WPSP has been kindly recognized with a couple of Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards and the 2019 Canadian Union of Public Employees National Safety Award. 
 
Similar to her co-facilitator Jared, the bulk of her health and safety education comes from labour schools and union education through the Alberta Federation of Labour, the Canadian Labour Congress and the Edmonton District Labour Council. Also, like Jared, Gina is a proud member of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 474 and has the honour to be on the CUPE National Women’s Committee.
 
During this global pandemic, global recession, and global uprising, Gina has been finding her joy in rearranging her home layout and finally unpacking the last of the boxes from her move…over a year ago. Anyone need a microwave?
 

Watch for future webinars

Future instalments of the Webinars for a New World series will focus on topics such as inclusive design,  personal land acknowledgements, and the logistics of online performances. Information for these webinars will be released very soon.
 

Register Now

These webinars are open to all, but you must register to receive a Zoom link. We are asking folks to Pay-What-You-Can to attend.

Announcement (Alberta): RBC Foundation Provides Continued Support for Theatre Alberta’s Emerging Artists Programs & Services

RBC Foundation Logo

Theatre Alberta is excited to announce that the RBC Foundation has provided a generous donation in support of our plans to provide interim programs and services for emerging theatre artists while the 2020 editions of Artstrek and Emerge have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 public health pandemic.
 
We’re so pleased to be able to help Theatre Alberta continue with their programming for emerging artists,” said Jerilynn Daniels, Director, RBC Community Marketing and Citizenship, Alberta & Territories. “We appreciate and value the unique offerings that Theatre Alberta brings to developing artists.”
 
Artstrek Commemorative Logo

Click the image for some Artstrek joy!

Artstrek, Theatre Alberta’s summer theatre school for teens held at Red Deer College, has been running since 1960, and Emerge, our general audition showcase of post-secondary acting graduates from across the province, has been running since 2004. We are incredibly grateful for the RBC Foundation’s support of these programs in 2019, and eager to offer them again in 2021! In the interim, we are designing alternative supports for Artstrek and Emerge participants. On July 24 we held an online celebration to commemorate what would have been Artstrek’s 60th anniversary. More online events and services will be announced in the coming weeks and months to keep us connected and learning throughout the year!
 
The theatre community in Alberta is both large and small at the same time. There are many  internationally renowned artists, companies, and festivals that call Alberta home, and we also produce some of the most intriguing small/independent theatre anywhere in North America. We need artists ready and eager to work in many different contexts, and enough opportunities to keep artists inspired and employed. Theatre Alberta’s mandate is to encourage the growth of theatre in Alberta, and we believe there is no better way to accomplish our goals than to provide young Albertans with the skills, knowledge, and self-assurance to create and participate in live theatre. This is especially important in 2020, as the future of our industry remains precarious for at least the short-term.
 
Participation in either or both of Artstrek and Emerge provides young Albertans essential networking opportunities and fosters relationships with a wide variety of colleagues. We are developing complementary and FREE programs and services designed to meet the continued career development needs of Alberta’s emerging theatre artists, until and hopefully beyond when our traditional programming can safely resume. These programs and services will also provide supplemental income opportunities for underemployed artists in our community. Our goal is to provide key supports, connections, and hope/positivity in a time when these are greatly needed.
 
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 support from the Foundation, Theatre Alberta will be able to continue to provide leadership, mentorship, and networking opportunities for emerging theatre artists from across the province. We are honoured again this year to work with the RBC Foundation to foster the next generation of Albertan theatre artists.
 
For more information on RBC’s commitment to community, please visit: https://www.rbc.com/community-social-impact/index.html
 

Webinar (Alberta): Conflict Analysis-Basics with Brooke Leifso

Theatre Alberta is thrilled to offer Webinars by Request: Webinars for a New World. This series of webinars is intended to address both technical challenges and  philosophical questions of equity and process, as we investigate the new theatre world we want to have when venues reopen. The next workshop in this series is:
 

Conflict Analysis-Basics with Brooke Leifso 
Thursday, August 6 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm MT 

Conflict is complex, dynamic, and inevitable. While conflicts may create knots in our stomachs, they also provide excellent opportunities for change and growth. This 2 hour webinar will share basic conflict analysis theories to help understand inter-personal conflict, and provide some communication tools for working through conflicts. Examples will come from professional theatre, but theories can be applied to all facets of life!
 

About BROOKE LEIFSO

Brooke Leifso headshto
Brooke (she/her) has a M.A. in Expressive Arts-Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding through the Swiss-based European Graduate School. Through this program, Brooke learned how artmaking in community can work through conflict and create inter-cultural understanding. Her MA thesis focused on creating communal space for men to talk about #metoo and process our changing culture through the use of Peacekeeping Circles and Expressive Arts-Based methods. Brooke is a founding member of the Edmonton Community Arts Network and has worked with the Edmonton Arts Council to provide training on Community Arts ethics and approaches within the city. She also has worked within professional theatre within Edmonton as an administrator and performer: CRIPSiE, Ground Zero Productions, Workshop West Playwright’s Theatre, Theatre Yes, Azimuth Theatre, Edmonton Actors Theatre, and as the Festival Box Office Manager for the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.
 

Watch for future webinars

Future instalments of the Webinars for a New World series will focus on topics such as inclusive design, approaches to anti-racist practices, and personal land acknowledgements. Information for these webinars will be released very soon.
 

Register Now

These webinars are open to all, but you must register to receive a Zoom link. We are asking folks to Pay-What-You-Can to attend.
 

Webinar (Alberta): Hazard Assessments and Planning to Reopen Theatres

Theatre Alberta is thrilled to announce a series of webinars online via Zoom related to the reopening of theatres. We are very excited to have a number of special guests joining us to facilitate learning opportunities and pivotal discussions as we move forward in the creation and development of art. These webinars are intended to address both technical challenges and also philosophical questions of equity and process, as we investigate the new theatre world we want to have when the venues reopen. The first workshop in this series is:
 
Hazard Assessment and Planning to Reopen Theatres with Janet Sellery 
Thursday, July 23 from 1:00pm – 3:00pm MT 
 
We all long to return to our theatres and, at this point in history, effective health and safety protocols will be essential in successfully reopening. Hazard Assessment is a powerful tool we can use to identify and assess hazards related to COVID-19, then plan appropriate controls and precautions. Reopening plans must be customized to reflect your unique needs, challenges and opportunities. We’ll review relevant resources and what to consider as you move forward.
 

About Janet Sellery

Janet Sellery is one of Canada’s leading experts in health and safety and the arts. She started her career in stage management and moved into health and safety after a critical injury involving an actor. Janet pioneered the health and safety program at the Stratford Festival, Canada’s largest repertory theatre, and one of her favourite projects was working as the Health & Safety Manager for the Opening, Closing and Victory Ceremonies at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics.
 
Janet was a Co-Founder of the Canadian Event Safety Summit (2016-2018) and is now Chair, Event Safety Alliance Canada, http://esacanada.ca. Janet is an active volunteer with the Ontario Ministry of Labour Live Performance Health & Safety Advisory Committee and the Event Safety Alliance (U.S.) Advisory Council. She was also a contributor to the Health and Safety in the Theatre section of Theatre Alberta’s Safe Stages (March 2007).
 
Janet is a graduate of Ryerson Theatre School and certified as both a Canadian Registered Safety Professional (CRSP) and a Certified Health and Safety Consultant (CHSC).
 
She has been awarded the Jack McAllister Award (Ryerson University, 2019), the Ron Epp Memorial Award for Professional Achievement (Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology, 2012) and Canada’s Safety Manager of the Year (Canadian Occupational Safety Magazine, 2007). Her work as a Health & Safety Consultant (Sellery Health + Safety – selleryhealthandsafety.com) focuses on customizing programs, training, and resources to reflect the constantly evolving and unique demands of the arts, entertainment and live events community. Janet is committed to “setting the stage for people to create their best work”.
 

Watch for future webinars

Future instalments of the Webinars for a New World series will focus on topics such as inclusive design, approaches to anti-racist practices, and conflict resolution. Information for these webinars will be released very soon.
 

Register Now

These webinars are open to all, but you must register to receive a Zoom link. We are asking folks to Pay-What-You-Can to attend.
 

Call for Submissions (Alberta): Short Videos for Artstrek’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

 

Calling all past and future Artstrek participants!

Though we cannot gather together in person this summer for Artstrek 2020, we are still planning to mark the 60th anniversary of the program with an online celebration. We’d love to have you join us on Zoom on Friday, July 24 at 11:00am for the 60th anniversary event. The event is free, but you will need to RSVP by CLICKING HERE to receive a Zoom link.
 

SEND US YOUR VIDEOS!

To help us celebrate Artstrek’s long history, we’re seeking short video submissions from people who have attended the program over the last 60 years that we will share during the anniversary event!
 

What we’re looking for

  • Videos should be no more than 30 seconds long;
  • Please try to make the video with clear audio (no background noise);
  • Please introduce yourself with your name and the year(s) you attended Artstrek;
  • Finish the sentence that starts with “At the next Artstrek I hope…”
You can send the completed video to [email protected] with the subject line Artstrek 60 Year Video Submission by the end of Thursday, July 9, 2020.
 

Announcement (Alberta): Theatre Alberta Library To Resume Circulation By Mail

 

The Theatre Alberta Library will resume circulation – via Canada Post only – to all Theatre Alberta members on June 29, 2020.

 
Our free mailing service will be available to all members, including those living in Edmonton and surrounding areas. Edmonton members who currently have Library books they’d like to return are asked to contact Chris Profiri at [email protected]. The Library itself will remain closed to the public and members. Requested materials will be sent out on Mondays and Thursdays.
 
To request plays or reference materials, please place a hold on the items through your online library account or email the librarian at [email protected] with your requests.
 
In order to maintain and exceed Alberta Health Services guidelines for reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19, when mailing books we will:
 
  • clean and sanitize all surfaces that the books and mailing supplies are in contact with;
  • practice strict personal hygiene guidelines as outlined in the Alberta Government’s Workplace Guidance for Business Owners;
  • temporarily discontinue the use of our famous purple cloth library bags, and use plastic bubble mailers to ship books back and forth; and
  • quarantine all returned library materials for at least 72 hours before reshelving or recirculating.
Please, do not return items to the satellite drop-off location at the Fringe Office until further notice.
 
More details about measures we are taking to ensure the health and safety of Library users and Theatre Alberta staff can be seen here: http://www.theatrealberta.com/library-mail-circulation-details.
 
Theatre Alberta members are eligible for a discount on a one-year Reader Pro subscription to New Play Exchange, the world’s largest digital collection of scripts by living authors. To find out more or to sign up for a discount code, please visit: http://www.theatrealberta.com/newplayexchange/.
 
Our eScripts and the Drama Online databases (Aurora Metro Books and Playwrights Canada Press) continue to be available for your online use.
 
If you’re interesting in using the Theatre Alberta Library services but are not a member, we’d love to have you join. Individual Theatre Alberta memberships are offered on a Pay-What-You-Can basis. To learn more visit: http://www.theatrealberta.com/membership/.
 

In Solidarity with Black Lives Matter and Black Artists in Alberta

 

Since about March 10 or so, the pressure to move and create and respond at the speed and precision of white supremacy culture has been more prevalent than ever before. I have sometimes been able to fight it, even actively name it, but I have more often than not complied with its demands and asked others around me to do the same. I am disgusted with myself and uncomfortable. Good.

Theatre Alberta is a predominantly white institution, that serves members who are also predominantly white. I want and need to acknowledge the labour and expertise of our Board, Staff, and General Members of Colour who HOLD IT DOWN while surrounded by white folx and our artistic problems. I know it is exhausting for them, and yet, they generously and patiently teach and teach again, because… at Theatre Alberta, we love helping theatre people solve their theatre problems. It is, ideally, how we spend the majority of our time.

The theatre community has some new problems ahead due to various and substantial changes in how we can produce and share theatre, and in how theatre and theatre artists will be adequately funded and paid. But right now predominantly white theatre companies and artists are being called in and called out to stop and immediately acknowledge and attend to the systemic racism, anti-Blackness, and many other oppressions and human rights violations we actively participate in when we produce and teach/learn about theatre. Because Black Lives Matter. Racism has been a public health issue for much longer than COVID-19, it just never stopped us from producing, but perhaps it should now.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I love theatre, I love theatre in Alberta and those who create it, and I will continue to fight for its survival alongside an incredible team. But Theatre Alberta and our members must centre and amplify the needs and desires of Black, Indigenous, and POC communities—including their artists and arts organizations. We need to do this right now, and we must continue to do so in perpetuity. We can all do this while advocating for our industry, as long as people historically excluded from and hurt by it are the greatest beneficiaries of this advocacy, and by their own account.

Please read Cheryl Foggo’s new essay Normal Isn’t Working on our blog and make a donation to https://blacklivesmatter.ca. Theatre Alberta will also be making a donation.

Please watch Malindi Ayienga, a young Black artist from Toronto, speak truth to power. Watch the whole 21 minutes. Pay attention to what’s difficult to hear or understand and investigate that further for yourself, and talk to other white people about it.

Please learn more about the characteristics of white supremacy culture, how its embedded in our lives and in our work, by Tema Okun via Dismantling Racism.

Please stay tuned for more information.

Please continue providing feedback and asking questions.

Keri Mitchell
Executive Director

Jake Tkaczyk
Programming Coordinator

Chris Profiri
Librarian

Jenna Rodgers
Board Member

Kelly Reay
Board Member

Mieko Ouchi
Board Member

Allan Wilson
Operations & Partnerships Coordinator

Julia van Dam
Programming Assistant

Derrique DeGagné
Board Member

Paul Muir
Board Member

Dennie Hamaliuk
Office & Memberships Coordinator

Ray Brickwood
Communications & Marketing Coordinator

Hanna Fridhed
Board Member

Jenna Goldade
Board Member

Announcement (Alberta): Theatre Alberta Now Has PWYC Memberships

At Theatre Alberta we believe that when we’re connected – all of us, no matter where or how we work – we’re stronger, more creative, more inspired, and inspiring. When we are faced with adversity those connections become even more critical. We support each other to survive. We support each other to thrive.
 
It is with the goal of better connecting and supporting theatre practitioners and supporters across Alberta that we have made significant changes to the Theatre Alberta membership fee structure. Effective immediately we are moving to a Pay-What-You-Can model for Individual/Student/Senior memberships, extending the Pay-What-You-Can option to Group memberships that require it right now, and changing our Group membership categories based on type of business and financial/operating size. These changes come after more than four years of research and conversations, including feedback from our members and the theatre community at large.
 

Theatre Alberta membership benefits include:

  • Access to Canada’s largest fully-circulating Theatre Library! (*We’re not currently able to circulate physical library books, but when it is safe to resume circulation, we will be extending free mailing service to all members now including those in the Edmonton area)
  • Access to Drama Online
  • Free publishing through the Library’s eScripts
  • Free posting of classifieds on Theatre Alberta’s website (also shared on our social media channels and in our newsletter)
  • Reduced membership fee to join our affiliate organization, Alberta Playwrights’ Network (*APN memberships are free for everyone for this year!)
  • *For Individual/Student/Senior Members: Reduced membership for New Play Exchange, the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers.
  • Access to scholarships for our Workshops by Request: Rocky Mountain Series workshops for those in financial need
  • Support in finding the information, resources, and connections you need for your artistic practice
  • Access to special promotions for members when available
The suggested amount for an individual membership is $40 and $25 for a student or senior membership. 
 

Group Memberships

Group Memberships categories will also be changing as summarized briefly here:
 
 – Group A: For organizations with budgets under $100k and all primary/secondary schools
 – Group B: For organizations with budgets between $100-$500k and all post-secondary schools
 – Group C: For organizations with budgets more than $500k
 
Rates for each group category will remain the same as they have been for the near future, and many of our groups will experience a price reduction in line with the category changes. Please contact [email protected] if you are a group seeking a pay-what-you-can membership.
 
Group members have access to the above member benefits as well as all the following:
  • Two members of the organization can have access to Library borrowing privileges
  • Request and host subsidized workshops for your community/artists through Workshops by Request, both the Hometown and Rocky Mountain Series
  • Advertising your company information, seasons, and productions both digital or live (once possible), on our Online Playbill free of charge

New Play Exchange

Lastly, we are also excited to announce that we have some access codes to New Play Exchange (NPX) – the world’s largest digital library of scripts by living writers – that we’d like to offer to our new or renewing members! For the first 25 new and first 25 renewing Theatre Alberta members we will send you a code for one year of access to the NPX database. Once these first 50 codes are gone, don’t fret! Subscription codes will be available for Theatre Alberta members to purchase for only $10.00.
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Dennie Hamaluik, Office and Membership Coordinator by email at [email protected].
 
 

Alberta Community Theatre Town Hall

 

ALBERTA COMMUNITY THEATRE TOWN HALL

Hosted by Theatre Alberta Staff and Board Members

 
Date: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm
 
Alberta’s Community Theatre Producers, Artists, and Board Members are invited to join Theatre Alberta Staff and Board Members for a town hall meeting to discuss challenges, opportunities, and questions regarding theatre during the COVID-19 pandemic. We would like to take this opportunity to hear what sorts of information and resources we can provide to support you during this time.
 
Please fill out the sign-up form to receive the Zoom link for the meeting: http://www.theatrealberta.com/alberta-community-theatre-town-hall/
 
If you have any questions or experience issues with the form, please contact [email protected].
 
*For drama educators, we have created a resource sharing document and Slack channel, and we are working on plans for other shared documents, town halls, etc. Please get in touch with us at the email address above with your questions, needs, and ideas!
 
For general COVID-19 resources and information CLICK HERE
 

Announcement (Alberta): Artstrek 2020 Update

 

From Act II Scene IX of Shakespeare in Love, adapted by Lee Hall from Tom Stoppard’s and Marc Norman’s screenplay of the same name:
 
Marlowe: But how will it end?
Will: Happily.
Marlowe: But how?
Will: I don’t know. It’s a mystery.
Theatre Alberta has made the decision to cancel Artstrek 2020 because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. At this time, we trust this decision is both necessary and prudent for the health and safety of Artstrek students and team members, their families and friends, and Red Deer College staff members without whom Artstrek would not be possible.
 
We have been working in community over the past few weeks to have difficult, confusing, inspiring, changing, and creative conversations about possibilities. We are hopeful that there will be some amazing opportunities for theatre artists and students this summer—some familiar and some unfamiliar—and we look forward to sharing those with you all.
 
We want to thank everyone who has reached out to offer support, most especially our key program partners at Red Deer College and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Artstrek is a very large undertaking, and we don’t do it alone. Now more than ever, its impact is keenly felt and appreciated.
 
If you’re an Artstrek alumni who is 18 years old and Artstrek 2020 would have been your last opportunity to attend, we will welcome your application for Artstrek 2021!
 
As we were very excited to explore Lee Hall’s Shakespeare in Love at Artstrek 2020, and had assembled an incredible team of Albertan artists and educators to develop and share the curriculum, we are working on plans to have the play and this team as the focus of Artstrek 2021.
 
Over the coming months, we will be exploring opportunities and possibilities to provide and/or promote extracurricular theatre education for Albertan teens this summer. Stay tuned for our thoughts, dreams, hopes, plans, and questions! In the meantime, we need to attend to the administrative and operational realities of Artstrek 2020’s cancellation, and we thank you for your patience.
 
Many theatre companies across the province offer day camps during the summer for students of a variety of ages. Should these programs be able to proceed in 2020, we will be sure to share this information widely and proudly!
 
Finally, we feel it is important to note that theatre companies and arts organizations everywhere are struggling with decision-making for the future right now. Please keep in mind that one event or program cancellation or postponement does not mean that other events or programs should or must also cancel or postpone. We are all working together and working apart. We are all weighing opportunities for collective action against what is best for our own organizations and communities, and everyone’s resources, capacities, and timelines are different. The decision to cancel is not a failure. Likewise, planning efforts and hope aren’t reckless. No one is or should feel alone in this right now. We must support each other in working with the government to comply with restrictions on gatherings and events, and in doing what is best for our communities.
 
Our thanks, as always, to those who have supported and continue to support Artstrek, including the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Red Deer College, Edmonton Arts Council, Calgary Arts Development, Edmonton Community Foundation, RBC Foundation, Alberta Milk, Saputo, our community sponsors and scholarship campaign donors, drama teachers across Alberta, the Alberta High School Drama Festival Association, Sobeys Gaetz Avenue in Red Deer, 2-for-1 Family Pizza in Red Deer.
 
Keri Mitchell, Executive Director
Marie Gynane-Willis, Artstrek Director
Jenna Rodgers, Board President and Artstrek Alumnus
 
 

Announcement (Calgary): The Calgary Arts Development Short-Term Artist Relief Fund

 

The CADA Short-Term Artist Relief Fund is a temporary one-time program to help address some of the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on artists in Calgary (known as Mohkinstsis in Blackfoot). This fund is intended to support artists and freelance cultural workers who have lost income or incurred unrecoverable expenses, related to their artistic work, due to event cancellations or travel disruption for events or opportunities meant to occur between March 12 – April 30.

Applicants may request up to $1,500, and must provide proof of event/work, cancellation/disruption, and financial loss. The program guidelines and applications will be available on April 3. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until April 30 or until funds are depleted. Applications will only be accepted through Calgary Arts Development’s online grant interface.

Program guidelines and criteria can be found here. Theatre Alberta has partnered with Calgary Arts Development to provide support for this program, and is available to answer questions if needed. Please get in touch with Community Resource Coordinator David van Belle at [email protected].

 

News (Alberta): Announcing The 2020 Artstrek Play of Study

 

We are thrilled to announce that students attending Artstrek 2020 will explore the action-packed contemporary comedy Shakespeare In Love. In the year 1593 an up-an-coming young writer named Will Shakespeare is struggling to complete his next play, Romeo and Ethel, the Pirate’s Daughter. When a mysterious actor appears to audition for the play, Will is intrigued. His search for the actor’s true identity leads him down an adventurous and farcical path that inspires one of his greatest works. Shakespeare In Love is a fast-paced ensemble piece full of dynamic characters. Swordplay, romance, mystery, and tragedy are all part of the mix – but will there be a dog in the show?

Adapted by Lee Hall from Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman’s Academy Award winning screenplay, Shakespeare In Love* is a smart, funny, and imaginative look at the early career of the famous playwright and poet.

The summer of 2020 marks Artstrek’s 60th anniversary! From its beginning as the ‘Olds Drama Seminar’ in 1960, Artstrek has grown into one of the most renowned and respected theatre training schools for teens in the country. Thousands of students have attended Artstrek over the decades—many have gone on to careers in the theatre industry and many more have become lifelong patrons and supporters of the arts.

Regardless of their paths, our students cite Artstrek as a significant milestone in their lives and we are so proud of each and every one of them. We invite all teens with a passion for theatre to join us this summer and become part of the ever-growing Artstrek community!

Registration for Artstrek 2020 will open on April 1. For more info and to watch the seconds count down until registration opens visit the Artstrek homepage!

Students may wish to find a community sponsor to assist in covering fees. A list of potential sponsors will be available on our Community Sponsorship page. Check in frequently for updates. Theatre Alberta also offers scholarships to students seeking assistance. For more information on scholarship please visit our Fees and Assistance page.

*Shakespeare In Love is provided by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals Company.

ARTSTREK 2020 FUNDERS AND SUPPORTERS