Community Update

Community Update Header

Friends, 

We are wrapping up our Online and On the Land Season with In Time, our project with End of the West which will open on December 2nd. We are excited to share this fresh new work with you as the year draws to a close. This was our Covid season, working on Chautauqua; The Interlake Trail with over a dozen artists and four communities. These two projects formed the core of our focus during the long months of lockdowns and uncertainty. It has been a year like no other – with difficulties and heartbreak as well as many gifts along the way.  

 

Transparency & Consultation 

 And it culminates with the end of my time with TPM this December. Since sharing news of my upcoming departure back in June, we have been working through our leadership succession timeline. Our planning for this change includes community consultations planned for this fall with the support of Jackie Hogue. We want to better understand the needs of our community of artists, feelings on leadership and to share conversation and learning toward our strategic focus on anti-racism and anti-oppression work. 

 

Leadership  

 We have made the decision to put interim artistic leadership in place through this process. We are thrilled to share that Michelle Boulet will work with TPM through this transitional time as our Interim Artistic Coordinator. Michelle has expressly communicated that she will not be applying for the permanent position, but will stay on until new leadership is hired and assist the company as it prepares for a new season, and a new leader. As an artist, collaborator and a long time volunteer with the company, she knows TPM and our community well. And we know her presence will give us the stability to focus on our restructuring objectives while having the capacity to keep our programming central and excellent.  We are bursting with gratitude for her commitment and caring – thank you Michelle! 

 

“I am beyond thrilled to be joining the TPM team as the Interim Artistic Coordinator.  So who am I and why am I here?  Well quite simply, TPM is going through a huge transition…possibly the biggest one in its three decades. Ardith’s pending departure is going to leave a big hole, and the process for choosing her successor is still in the beginning stages. Which brings me to…well…me.  Having served as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare in the Ruins for many years, sometimes sharing the position, sometimes solo, I know a thing or two about running a small, innovative company…a company that punches above its weight.  It gives me great pleasure to be able to use my experience to pitch in during this time of change, and to see what wonderful new thing will come from this chapter!”

 – Michelle Boulet, Interim Artistic Coordinator 

 

Anti-Racist & Anti Oppression commitments; Accountability 

We are grappling with many questions around the disruption and change within our industry. This spring, Jackie Hogue facilitated conversations with the Board and staff around our values – we wanted to ensure an ethos of inclusivity and anti-racism and create a guide by which to evaluate our decision making for all of our projects. Culminating in a description of those values, we have shared this on our website. We have also enlisted help from Natalie Bell at Acuity HR – challenged by our limited capacity, we are exploring new structures and ways to work more humanely, for our artists and staff. It is time to reimagine, dream and investigate what comes next for TPM and how we serve the community moving forward.  

 

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 have sponsored the Rebuild and Reimagine Prairie Theatre Sector Initiative, which will culminate in a web series looking at issues of diversity and equity in the sector. We look forward to this dialogue pushing us all forward as we consider all the ways that our practice can make positive changes to be more inclusive and kind. 

 One way we are striving towards deeper compassion and inclusivity is through development of a new Safe(r) Spaces Policy. In its final draft, the board is reviewing this policy which will articulate the method of resolving conflict and creating accountability and form a framework for enacting community agreements reflective of each of our projects. 

 

Accessibility

We took steps this season toward better accessibility! Accessibility initiatives included Live ASL Interpretation for our two live streamed events of Chautauqua Live, Described Audio and embedded, picture-in-picture ASL interpretation for six pre-recorded audio visual artistic projects shared online. We have also made efforts to caption our posts and will be undertaking captioning for all of our website images over the upcoming season. 

 

Board Recruitment

We are thrilled to share the changes in our Board of Directors this year! We welcomed members Kevin Ramberran, Gloria Koop and Marsha Knight. We have huge gratitude for these three who have come to us with their enormous skills and most especially, dedication to Manitoba theatre. If you wish to reach the board of directors, you can email [email protected] 

 

We have persevered with the generosity and kindness of our funders and supporters. We are still here because of you and for you. On behalf of myself, Rea and the Board of Directors, THANK YOU! 

 

Ardith 

 

 

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