Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bringing Together Students and Professionals at Theatre Ontario Next Generation Showcase

By Mairin Smit, Program Coordinator

It’s hard to believe that Theatre Ontario’s Next Generation Showcase 2014 has already come and gone! With so much preparation and fabulous new programming, this year’s event on Sunday, January 19 and Monday, January 20 was an exciting two days of over 200 individual school performances.

Earlier in the fall, I had the pleasure of visiting several of the schools participating in Next Generation Showcase 2014. It was great to be able to connect with the students, answer questions about the event, and encourage them to attend the panel discussions and networking parties. Throughout Showcase, I had the pleasure of seeing many of these students again, as well as meet others from schools I had not visited and chat about their Showcase experience. For many of the students this was their first step into the professional theatre world and the opportunity connect with so many industry professionals over the two days was exciting and valuable.

This year, Next Generation Showcase took place at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts in the historic Distillery District. This venue provided a warm, welcoming and intimate environment for all our Showcase participants and was a great space for our rocking networking parties on both Sunday and Monday evening. With food, music and atmosphere the parties provided an excellent opportunity for students, instructors and industry professionals to chat and connect with each other.

We also provided the opportunity for students to get up-close and personal with artists working in the industry through post-presentation chats with Soulpepper Resident Artists and our filled-to-capacity panel discussion “The Business of Casting” on Sunday evening. This year our panel featured Nina Lee Aquino, Derek Boyes, Robyn Friedman, Andrew Lamb, Larissa Mair, and Derek Ritschel, and was moderated by Kristina Nicoll.  It’s great to be able to facilitate these kind of connections between students and professionals, all under one roof at Next Generation Showcase.

Thank you to everyone who helped make Showcase possible, with a special note of thanks to our Next Generation Showcase 2014 sponsors – Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts, Sheridan College and Soulpepper Theatre. With so much excitement and energy from this year’s event, I’m already looking forward to Next Generation Showcase 2015!

From our Showcase attendees:
“The event was organized beautifully. I as an actor felt good and welcomed in the space, in the theatre, and by all people.” – Next Generation Showcase, Student Participant
“Almost the entire experience was a plus. Getting the opportunity to perform for a room of my peers and the artistic community was amazing! Hearing some industry insights at the panel discussions was enlightening and chatting with people one on one was a great way to feel a sense of community!” -Next Generation Showcase, Student Participant
“We loved the fact that it was more intimate. Meeting with the artists directly after the audition made us all feel at home.” -Next Generation Showcase, School Instructor
“You guys are golden. You are doing the theatre industry a great service by allowing the emerging artists to have a platform. It is Theatre Ontario and the new generations of artists that will shape the future of theatre. I have nothing but gratitude for you guys.” -Next Generation Showcase, Industry Guest
Read the Theatre Ontario Next Generation Showcase tweets on Storify 

Read more about Theatre Ontario's Next Generation Showcase on our website

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