Thursday, 20 October 2016

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Jane Spence

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.)

Jane Spence will train in artistic direction with David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville.

(September 7, 2016) In just one short week I officially begin training to be an Artistic Director under the mentorship of David Nairn at Theatre Orangeville. I met Mr. Nairn six years ago when I first performed for Theatre Orangeville. Immediately I felt there was something special about this theatre. Mr. Nairn is a humble, generous man whose passion for theatre is infectious. People love working for him and he has created a sense of pride in the Theatre throughout the Orangeville community. The audience members are so invested in the company that they thank the actors for coming to “their” theatre.  I witnessed the impact this Theatre has had on its community and it inspired me to explore that relationship in every theatre I have worked for since. It’s through these experiences that I have expanded the vision for my career.  I am so very grateful Mr. Nairn is taking me under his wing. I have enormous respect and admiration for how he operates Theatre Orangeville and its mission statement encapsulates all that I desire to achieve in theatre.
Theatre Orangeville Mission Statement:
To enrich the community with high quality, professional theatre experience, that showcases the development of new Canadian works. To provide youth with unique opportunities to transform their lives through the performing arts. To provide vibrant, engaging and creative opportunities that grow the cultural experience through community partnerships.

There is so much to learn from someone with Mr. Nairn’s passion and vision.  Under his leadership, Theatre Orangeville has become a successful regional theatre that creates high quality professional productions of new Canadian work. As well as the education programing that enriches more than three hundred students every year, they have created unprecedented programs and partnerships. Creative Partners on Stage (CPOS) offers intellectually challenged adults an opportunity to perform original plays that celebrate the abilities of every participant and Theatre Orangeville Exceptional Players (TOEP) providing a performing arts program for special needs children. I was so moved as an audience member watching a CPOS production, realizing the potential theatre has to truly change and improve people’s lives.

Mr. Nairn has brought together an excellent staff who he values and empowers. As a result he has created a very dedicated company who enjoy what they do and constantly strive to exceed expectations. While he appreciates and recognizes his team’s successes, he is always seeking avenues for growth and improvement on what Theatre Orangeville can accomplish. He is the kind of leader I aspire to be.

The next few months promise to be a busy and exciting time. I will be enhancing my skills as a director by assisting on two productions, Miracle on 34th Street with Mr. Nairn and Ghost Island Light with Derek Ritschel, another Artistic Director for whom I have great respect.  I will be afforded the opportunity to participate in casting sessions, production meetings, board meetings, classes and workshops of new plays. I will strengthen my ability to support the creation of new work by examining how the New Play Development Program and the education programs are structured. I will also witness plenary sessions, funding and budgeting meetings. I anticipate learning an immense amount observing these various processes and Mr. Nairn has made me feel my input and contributions are welcome. I look forward to testing and honing my skills with the responsibilities given to me. I have even been assigned the fabulous task of helping create a new play festival of sorts (details to be revealed later). I am thrilled to be a part of this project and am eager to meet with organizers, to learn the process and logistics necessary behind producing a festival.

I feel so fortunate to have this career changing opportunity and the guidance of this amazing mentor.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.

Learn more about Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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