Thursday, 11 May 2017

YAC Update: Learning from Our Network

Alex Rand and Laura Philipps at INDIE X
by Laura Philipps, Co-Chair, Youth Advisory Committee

The Theatre Ontario Youth Advisory Committee has been learning a lot in April, attending our first conferences as a group and meeting community partners.

On April 8, Co-Chairs Alex Rand and Laura Philipps attended INDIE X at 918 Bathurst Cultural Centre. We had a chance to meet other young artists in an informal setting and participate in workshops about producing, marketing and interdisciplinary collaboration. The keynote address from Marjorie Chan examined how “theatre is hard” and made us all reflect: why do we do it?

INDIE X from the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts
Theatre is a space for expression, collaboration and learning. YAC member Julia Voradek Hunter works with The AMY (Artists Mentoring Youth) Project, a performing arts training program for women and non-binary youth. Their testimonial-style development process provides a space for participants to try out different identities and express themselves. Their workshop production of Almeida (the Glorious) demonstrated just how impactful theatre can be to make young people proud of their place in the world. The AMY Project is a finalist for one of the Toronto Arts Foundation Signature Awards, The Youth for Arts award to be announced May 17.

The Youth Advisory Committee is committed to increasing access to opportunities for youth interested in a career in theatre. Our network of young artists is excited for the future where all of Ontario’s youth can see themselves represented onstage. Our first task is understanding how and why some youth are not getting a chance to share their voices on stage.

Alex and Laura at "Beyond Representation"
We participated in the Modern Times Stage symposium Beyond Representation: Cultural Diversity as Theatrical Practice April 9 - 11. Helping backstage gave us a behind the scenes look at how a conference is organized. It inspired us to think creatively about the format of our event, and highlighted the essential role of a youth voice in cultural conversations. YAC member Davinder Malhi reflects:
The Beyond Representation symposium gave me a greater understanding of what diversity as practice truly means. This symposium dissected the ideas of diversity beyond traditional and stereotypical boundaries, and it challenged the participants by presenting new thoughts and ideas surrounding difference on stage. The active use of discussion through panels and presentations provided a strong foundation for further conversation and theoretical stimulation. This event was a strong launching point for the development of difference on stage, and I truly believe it left all attendees with a stronger understanding of the value and importance of diversity within the art world.
This month we are looking forward to attending Paprika Festival’s The Intersection on May 20. It will be the first youth-focused conference we attend and a chance to meet more of our peers. On the same day, YAC member Norah Paton will represent the Youth Advisory Committee at Theatre Ontario AGM in Ottawa. We hope to see you there!

Members of the Theatre Ontario Youth Advisory Committee

No comments:

Post a Comment