Thursday, 29 June 2017

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Stephanie Graham

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

Stephanie Graham will train in artistic direction with Mitchell Marcus at The Musical Stage Company in Toronto

(May 15, 2017)  The Musical Stage Company (formerly Acting Up Stage Company) is Canada’s foremost company for producing independent musicals. Musicals have always been a part of my life and where most my work has been, either as a performer or being a part of a creative team.

I have observed Mitchell Marcus, Artistic and Managing Director, build the company from a one-project-per-season company to an established one that is now doubling their operating budget and programming events that run all year long. I have worked with their One Song Glory youth program and choreographed two main stage productions for them. I highly value the work that is done at Musical Stage and have wanted to work with Mitchell more in depth for quite a while. What Mitchell does well is maintain his artistic practise while being an arts administrator. I hope to gain some insight into this incredible talent while working by his side.
Mitchell Marcus and Stephanie Graham

I hope to accomplish many things during this mentorship. I will get to observe the day-to-day responsibilities of an Artistic Director. My own work as a producer has always been project based so I have not had staff to work with nor had to answer to a board of directors. I will be able to attend weekly staff meetings and be privy to long term strategic planning and budget meetings, fundraising, marketing and artistic planning when putting together a future season. I do not have a lot of experience in these areas and am hoping to gain knowledge in these aspects of Artistic Direction.

As an indie producer, there was always a beginning, middle and end to the projects I have worked on. The challenges of juggling many balls at once, that an Artistic Director has, is relentless and is something I need to learn how to manage. I will also get to observe Mitchell as a non-directing Artistic Director and the role that he plays in overseeing the artistic direction of the organization on a specific production, the Canadian premiere of FUN HOME. Co-producing between a not-for-profit and a commercial producer will, no doubt, have some beautiful intricacies. I look forward to being a part of this process.

Mitchell and I have always had a mutual respect. I have worked at many companies of various sizes on both large and small scale musicals. I think I can bring some of this experience to the conversations at Musical Stage. Mitchell and I have already looked at the calendar and marked out some important dates where he sees I can be an essential part of the company. We will have weekly check-ins so I am able to ask questions and have conversations about where I see my artistic direction practise heading.

Thank you to everyone on the selection committee that felt this was a worthwhile mentorship to support. I am so very excited to get working with Musical Stage starting in early July!

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 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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