Tuesday, 13 May 2014

PTTP Profiles: Exploring Projects Funded by the Professional Theatre Training Program

Eight individuals were chosen as recipients of Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program grants during our Spring 2014 application round.  Each month, we want to share some of these projects with you.

Madeleine Donohue is training in Producing and General Management with Monica Esteves and Eric Goldstein at Crow’s Theatre (Toronto)

While I have done a fair bit of self-producing in the past with my own indie theatre company, this will be a totally new work environment for me, and I'm looking forward to what promises to be a busy, exciting time with these generous, ambitious folks.
Madeleine Donohue

I met with Monica and Eric this week to plan our detailed schedule, and to discuss my goals and interests. I have known Monica for several years, so this meeting also served as an introduction for Eric and myself, and a chance for us to fill one another in on our backgrounds and current projects. I was unsure of how much one-on-one time the two of them would be able to give me, and also how many of their upcoming projects I would be directly involved in, so I was pleased to discover that they've given my placement within their office a great deal of thought, and that their past experiences with interns and trainees has prepared them for the process of integrating new artists into their working environment. 

I will be working at the Crow's office Monday to Friday, for roughly five hours each afternoon. During the first part of my training I will be assisting with the running of the East End Performance Crawl, from the office and also on site.  As the company prepares for a series of new play workshops over the course of the next five months, I trust that I will also be able to contribute to the process of contract preparation and relations with CAEA; I have enough experience in this area to be able to confidently assist Eric, while also learning about a wider array of contract and agreement types than I am currently familiar with. I also hope to expand my knowledge regarding tour planning, and in the fall I will be assisting with the preparations for their 2015 Montreal production. Again, I trust that my own experience with touring will serve Crow's well throughout this process, but I know that the scale of their project will allow me to embrace new challenges, including budget preparation and the facilitating of travel and accommodation arrangements for artists from around the country.

One of my primary goals for my training is to gain a better understanding of the general manager and producer's roles within a larger organization, and to learn about board management and corporate sponsorship. Monica and Eric have invited me to attend all budgeting and board meetings, and they have offered to schedule one-on-one time with me to answer my questions regarding their own work, their company's position within the wider theatre community, and the general day-to-day running of the company.  As the founder of an indie theatre company, this will help me to plan for the next stage in my own company's development, and it will also provide me with invaluable information as I contemplate my long-term career prospects as a producer.

I can't wait to get started. A little bit nervous, definitely, but confident that this opportunity is coming at exactly the right time for me, both personally and professionally. Feeling lucky and excited, and grateful that the PTTP exists for artists like myself!

Kat Horzempa is training in General Management and Tour Coordination with Natalie Ackers at Roseneath Theatre (Toronto)

As I prepare for this exciting mentorship, I feel truly honoured to have been selected to participate in the Professional Theatre Training Program. The privilege of learning General Management and Tour Coordination from Natalie Ackers, the Managing Director of Roseneath Theatre, is one I hope to fully take advantage of. At the outset of this venture, I anticipate gaining the necessary skills required to successfully manage a Canadian theatre company and direction on how to apply those skills in the appropriate circumstance. Working with Natalie uniquely affords me the added advantage of learning how to manage a company that tours nationally and internationally, which is something I look forward to being able to apply in my future endeavours.
Kat Horzempa

The fact that I get to learn from Natalie Ackers is one of the most exciting parts of this opportunity. Natalie and I come from not just a similar theatre background, but the very same theatre background. We both had our start in the same small-town community theatre up in Caledon, Ontario. Seeing that Natalie took what she learned there, continued to build upon that foundation elsewhere, and is now the Managing Director for Ontario’s largest touring theatre company is inspiring for me. Natalie has the experience necessary to guide me in properly applying the skills I developed in community theatre to the business of professional theatre. In addition to all this, Natalie is someone with whom I feel comfortable asking questions, discussing my doubts, and troubleshooting hypotheticals. We have a natural rapport that I have no doubt will make for a great mentor-mentee relationship.

From this experience I am eager to learn how to manage and lead an entire production – from hiring and casting to payroll, HR management, grant writing, budget creation and management, conflict resolution and troubleshooting. I look forward to testing my troubleshooting skills in addressing tour complications; fine-tuning my “grant speak” in helping to prepare high-level grant applications and reports; understanding the importance of choosing the right arts marketing events on a limited budget; developing my accounting skills while assisting with audit preparations; and undoubtedly, adapting to unanticipated curveballs as are bound to arise.

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.  Read more about the Professional Theatre Training Program on our website.

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