By Julianne Snepsts, President of the Theatre Ontario Board
With the great tradition of the Theatre Ontario Festival comes our Annual General Meeting, held on the Saturday afternoon amidst the Festival celebrations.
The 2011 Annual General Meeting for Theatre Ontario will be held Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 11:30am at The Curtain Club, 400 Newkirk Road, Richmond Hill. I urge all members of Theatre Ontario to attend this year’s AGM if at all possible, and if not, please take the time to review the slate of Board candidates and send your proxy vote. Forms to designate proxies (if you cannot attend) or group representatives are available on the Theatre Ontario website and can be brought in person to the meeting. There has been a lot of talk about democracy in recent weeks, and we all know that voter turnout is key to a vital nation and, indeed, a vital arts organization. I hope you will take this opportunity to participate.
At the AGM this year we will be revealing details of our Strategic Plan for 2011-2013, which means that this year's meeting will have some extra drama and excitement to entice you!
As we welcome many new faces to our Board of Directors, we will also be saying farewell to some excellent members. This year we say goodbye to Anne Mooney of London, your current Vice President, and Sheena Albanese of Thunder Bay, your Board Secretary and Northwest Rep. Both of these fine ladies have served a full six-year term on the Board.
We will miss Anne’s warm personality and thoughtful contributions to the Board and Executive but also know we'll keep in touch as she continues to be involved in her local and regional communities. Sheena has been a wonderful collaborator and friend. The organization is indebted to her commitment to Theatre Ontario and to the needs of our colleagues in the Thunder Bay area.
We will also say goodbye to John Koensgen and Patrick Gauthier of Ottawa. Both have been valuable allies in the professional theatre community of the Capitol Region and we wish them much success in their busy theatre lives.
Finally, we must send our gratitude and very best wishes to Margit Tauchner of Ottawa who resigned from the Board earlier this year for personal reasons. Margit has been the Eastern Ontario Rep, Member-at-Large on the Executive, and a passionate advocate for community theatre and for Theatre Ontario.
Let's extend our sincere thanks to these great friends who are leaving the Theatre Ontario Board family!
We are also pleased to welcome Emma Mackenzie Hillier of Toronto, Deb Sholdice of Blyth, and Ken Stephen of Woodstock who are joining our Board of Directors. From their bios:
Emma Mackenzie Hillier is an emerging theatre artist, practitioner and administrator living in Toronto who originally hails from the small town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Since graduating the University of Windsor’s BFA—Acting program in 2008 she has been quite busy establishing herself as an actor, some of her credits include: Missing (Factory Theatre), Luck (Essential Collective Theatre), The Grace Project: SICK! (Bound2Create) and soon she will be playing Olivia in Twelfth Night (Humber River Shakespeare) for their first school tour. On the other side of the “table”, Emma has been quite busy assistant directing, her favourite credit so far has been in assisting Ted Dykstra on the acclaimed Soulpepper production of Jitters, however she has also traveled out of Toronto to St. Catharines to assist for Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects on both Shakespeare’s Villains and Sexy Laundry. As well, Emma is delighted to be interning with Iris Turcott at Factory Theatre. Presently Emma spends part of her days working for STAF (Small Theatre Administration Facility) where she both writes grants and helps with publicity.
Ken Stephen grew up in Toronto and settled in Elliot Lake in 1978 to teach high school. He became involved in the local Ptarmigan Players group as an actor, lighting operator, stage manager, director, and served on the Executive, and later joined the new Elliot Lake Amateur Theatre Ensemble (ELATE). He was a delegate to the QUONTA Drama Region and served as President and Treasurer, and was Festival Chairman for three QUONTA Festivals held in Elliot Lake in 1999, 2004, and 2008. The first of these was a co-production with the Elliot Lake Entertainment Series, a producing organization for which Ken held a board position for over ten years. For over 25 years, he adjudicated semi-annual presentations of original one-act plays at ELSS. In 2007 Ken received the Michael Spence 35th Anniversary Award from Theatre Ontario, upon the nomination of QUONTA, for “a sustained contribution to theatre in Ontario.”
Deb Sholdice spent “many happy years in my youth” as a volunteer usher at the Blyth Festival. In 2000, she went with her son to a volunteer orientation session and became fixtures ever since, first as a member of the community company for all three productions of The Outdoor Donnellys and as a member of the Board of Directors. In 2007, the organization was searching for a General Manager and Deb was ultimately selected for the position. Since that time, she has worked closely with many organizations and businesses to promote arts and culture in their rural region.