Tuesday, 24 January 2017

We Are the Next Generation

by Haley Dwolinsky

Possibilities sat in front of me last Sunday evening. That first step through the door of the Young Centre. The nervous glances when you were choosing which important people to start conversations with. Never did I think I would have made it this far.

I grew up training in dance full time and singing as much as possible in a little town called Port Alberni on Vancouver Island, BC. Once I graduated high school, I made the biggest decision of my life thus far, and moved to Toronto to attend the Randolph Academy. It felt like the place I belonged and it was where I became the artist and person I am today. That school has also brought me so many new and exciting opportunities such as the Theatre Ontario Showcase. This showcase is an opportunity for young emerging artists to perform in front of many casting directors and agents who can help us find where we belong in this industry. We also have the chance to speak to them one on one over the next two days at networking parties. This way we all get to know who we may potentially work with in the years to come. One specific event that I really wanted to attend was the panel discussion. This is where five important and influential people who work in various aspects of casting, would sit down on stage and share advice, stories and insights with us.

I entered the theatre and saw the stage where I would be performing the next day, and looked up at the incredible people who sat on it at that very moment. So many “what ifs” were flying through my head at once and the trepidation was almost unbearable. And then they spoke to us...

The Next Generation Showcase Panel
Suddenly, the fear of the “what if's” and the unknown possibilities vanished and we sat in awe. You could feel how the room sank into a state of wonderment as each of the very talented individuals on the stage poured their hearts out to us. Their stories of all the wonderful experiences they've had and the people they've met that they have never forgotten. I wanted to be one of those people. But the thought of being in that position seemed much too far-fetched for me.

Over the time we spent in that room, the goal to become a part of this group became more attainable in my mind. It was comforting to discover that all of these people were in my shoes at one point in time. You tend to feel like you're very alone in this lifestyle and already, five months out of college, I had that feeling. Then I realized that many of the people around me felt it as well. How do you juggle jobs outside theatre and your career? Such a hard question for all of us to tackle, but their answer was simple...stop separating the two. Make all of it your life. What about the battle for equality? Stop thinking of it as a battle and it won't be. What if they don't want me? Then too bad for them! Go find someone else who wants you because there are plenty of people in this city alone who would love the chance to work with you!

Now, I'm not saying any of these thoughts and answers are easy to accept and to deal with. But they are something to strive for. We must strive to believe that we are enough. To constantly remember that we possess so much talent and having the confidence to share it with the world is already a huge achievement. We are the ones who cannot let the art of truly listening die. The ones who will continue to let an audience revel in their true emotions and face their fears with us. We are the next generation.

And before I left, someone shared with me some words and insight that I will never forget. At the bottom of it all, the message was clear. 

You have to keep your heart in it.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing, Haley and for producing such a wonderful event, Theatre Ontario. It was a real honour to be among such wonderful artists - on stage and off. #notabattle :) Best, David