I’m so pleased to be offering my first community update since stepping into leadership here at Theatre Projects. As we wrap our season, I’m also wrapping up my first 90 days on the job here at TPM—three busy months very full of good things and big thoughts!
Just before I officially started at TPM, we shared the Chautauqua Film Festival at Cinematheque presenting short films that grew out of our time in the Interlake during the last Chautauqua. Thank you to all our partners in the Interlake and our artistic collaborators for sticking with us through the ever-evolving process that COVID required. If you weren’t able to join us for the screening in March, those short films are evergreen on our YouTube channel.
In early April we partnered with Walk & Talk Theatre to support their staged reading of their ambitious new musical End of the Line—a piece TPM has been supporting through several years of incubation. What a joy to share live performance with a big live audience once again! Walk & Talk has taken all they learned from that workshop back into their writing process and we look forward to seeing what the next phase of development brings.
We capped off our 2021-2022 season with a short but sweet run of Climate & Main, an experimental workshop showcase of five new and in-progress mini-plays about our relationship to our precarious planet. Not only an artistic investigation of the subject matter from several angles, Climate & Main was also an experiment in creative process and collaboration featuring a diverse roster of 18 artists with a variety of artistic and cultural backgrounds and experiences.
Giving local artists a platform to take risks, play and grow together is TPM’s signature jam and it was very gratifying to begin my time at TPM with these artistic endeavours that so perfectly enact our foundational values.
Looking ahead to the fall we are optimistically excited to return with a full roster of programing for you including two mainstage productions—one a world premiere—an EP launch party, new digital projects from our Theatre-Maker Cohort, and more!
Stay tuned for our full 2022-23 programming announcements coming soon!
Leadership transition has been a huge focus since our last update. For our hiring process we worked with Natalie Bell at Acuity HR and our hiring panel was made up of a diverse roster of local arts leaders, board members, artists, and community stakeholders. The panel was comprised of Board members Bill Kerr (Chair), Marsha Knight (member), Gloria Koop (Treasurer) and Kevin Ramberran (Member) along with community members Crystal Kolt, Lisa Li, Geneviève Pelletier, and Lara Rae.
Michelle Boulet served as Interim Artistic Coordinator from October through June while Ardith remained available for me to reach out with questions and to glean wisdom from her many years of experience. I am deeply grateful to all the care taken by the board, staff, and senior leadership past and present for facilitating such a smooth on-ramp for me that preserved institutional knowledge while encouraging me to trust my instincts and chase my own curiosities. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Theatre Projects and you, our community, in this role and I so look forward to what we can build together!
Farewells and Hellos
We must give a HUGE thank you and a very fond farewell to Michelle Boulet and Tanner Mason who both wrapped their time with TPM on June 30—we miss you both already and wish you all the very best in your many forthcoming creative projects!
We are so pleased to welcome Key Caguioa as our new Assistant Producer for the summer! Former President of the Black Hole Theatre Company, Key has just completed her studies at the U of M and in just two weeks has effortlessly become an integral part of the TPM team—welcome Key, we are so excited to work with you!
We are exploring new structures and ways to work more humanely, for our artists and staff. In the coming months we will embark on a rigorous strategic planning phase to build our vision for the next cycle of Theatre Projects (by, for, from, and in) Manitoba. It is time to reimagine, dream, and investigate what is possible and how we can continue to bring vibrant live art into and out of our many intersecting communities.
Reimagining is a sector-wide exercise these days and TPM is pleased to be involved in several initiatives beyond our borders:
Last year TPM sponsored the Rebuild and Reimagine Prairie Theatre Sector Initiative. Without knowing what the future would hold I participated in that initiative as an individual artist and will be continuing the work, this time representing TPM, in phase two in September 2022. The goal of phase two is to creatively imagine possible futures for our sector on the prairies and consider the work necessary to move toward our preferred futures.
We are also one of 10 companies across Canada to be partnering on the first ever National Queer and Trans Playwrighting Unit. The Unit will see 5 new Canadian plays by Queer and Trans artists get development support and a national audience. We couldn’t be more excited to help grow our local and national body of work in this deeply interconnected way.
We are aware that we still have work to do as a company to engage more deeply with anti-racist theatre practices, and on our individual and collective commitments to Reconciliation. We are grateful to be able to live and work as artists on this land. We thank the knowledge keepers, storytellers, artists and makers from all first peoples of this land including the Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene and the Métis Nation, for their ongoing relationship with and caretaking of these lands and waters that support and sustain life on these plains, forests, and tundra.
We acknowledge that settlers have often failed to uphold our part of the treaties of peace and friendship that bind us together and we at TPM strive to be better neighbours, partners, and co-stewards as we move forward.
Before I arrived TPM undertook community consultations with the support of Jackie Hogue. Each group conversation was a spotlight on needs and accessibility, with a cross section of Disability artists, Emerging artists, LGBTQ2S+ artists, Racialized artists and Indigenous Artists. The Transformation Committee took a brief hiatus while all energies were directed to the hiring and onboarding process. Staff has now had opportunity to review the feedback offered from the participants and we are eager to dive back into what we learned from those consultations with the full organization. We sincerely thank everyone who shared their perspectives and feedback with us through the process to date. The work of the Transformation Committee will be an integral part of our upcoming strategic planning process.
The Board recently approved our new Safe(r) Spaces Policy which is now permanently posted on our website. This policy articulates pathways for creating accountability and resolving conflict and forms a framework for building and enacting collaboratively crafted working agreements for each of our projects.
We welcomed another new Board member in January! Gloria Koop has brought valuable new skills, perspectives, and energy to our Board and currently serves as the Board Treasurer. Gloria, your impacts are already felt and greatly appreciated, thank you for joining us!
We are actively seeking new members with a diversity of skills and experience who more fully represent the cultural makeup of our stakeholders and our region. The Governance Committee is beginning the process of recruitment which will continue over the next few months, so if you’ve been considering new ways to deepen your engagement with TPM and want to have a role in shaping our future, we invite you to consider joining our board!
If you wish to reach the board of directors about anything, you can email [email protected]
The work TPM does would not be possible without the generous support of our funders: the Canada Council for the Arts, The Manitoba Arts Council, the Winnipeg Arts Council, The Richardson Foundation. The W.H. & S.E. Loewen Foundation, and the Winnipeg Foundation. Climate and Main was sponsored by the Assiniboine Credit Union and the Gail Asper Family Foundation with support from Royal MTC and The Bridge: Our Only Earth 2022. On behalf of the Board, Staff, Rea and Myself—THANK YOU!
Finally, I want to thank you, our audience and donors for your ongoing support over the years. You are the only reason we exist, and we are so excited to be bringing you live performances once again!