Tuesday, 6 November 2018

2018 Youth Advisory Committee Reflections… and Looking to 2019

By Deanna Galati, Chair, Youth Advisory Committee 2018

Being on the Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) this past year has been such a lovely and eye opening experience filled with learning curves, opportunities, and successes. As I reflect on this past year of being Chair of the YAC, I think about all that we’ve done and all that I’ve learned. 

When I accepted my position on the YAC, I really didn’t know what to expect of my year. All I did know was that I was interested in learning new skills, meeting new people, and offering something special to the young theatre community; a community that I consider myself to be a part of. The early stages of the YAC consisted of our team talking about what excited us, what scared us, what was needed, and where many of the gaps were in our industry for young people of all different cultural backgrounds, races, abilities, genders, and sexualities. We were a mighty group with lots of vision, and as chair, it was difficult to narrow down what our year would look like—there were so many good ideas to choose from.

Our Emergence 2.0 "Advocating for Yourself" panelists:
Nikki Shaffeeullah, Sabah Haque and Kristina Lemieux
When it came down to selecting the content and topic for what became Emergence 2.0, I really thought about those early conversations. There were many conversations where our team felt that there was a lack of mentorship opportunities for young artists to grow, and that it was sometimes daunting to approach a mentor to talk about an early stage career in the industry. We also talked a lot about how young artists can be treated and how we must advocate for ourselves in many different ways, depending on a variety of different factors. I didn’t want to let that early work go. 

With help from the Theatre Ontario team, we decided to continue on the awesome momentum that was built from Emergence in 2017 and use the same name for our event as well. Thus, Emergence 2.0 was born.

Emergence 2.0 consisted of a panel discussion about advocating for yourself, followed by mentorship pairings where we brought in 9 generous and relevant theatre artists who acted as mentors for our participants. There was a lot of insight offered and I hope that the participants got what they needed to out of the conversations we had.

Dinner break and networking at Emergence 2.0
Being chair for the YAC has definitely taught me a lot about my leadership skills, my communication skills, my limits, my ambition, teamwork, and also that I have such a supportive and welcoming theatre community around me. I learned so much about myself in this position and am grateful for the experience it gave me to advocate for myself. 

The YAC is excited to part of the selection process for the 2019 team. Keep your eyes peeled for details to come...

My advice to the incoming year of YAC artists—putting together a comprehensive event for folks in the industry takes a lot of time, strategic planning, and organization from you! So do something that you’re passionate about. Strong communication skills as well as great outreach and marketing are also key aspects to running a successful event. I was glad to be surrounded by Kelsey Dann (YAC member), the Theatre Ontario staff who supported in various ways along the way, as well as the awesome artists involved in Emergence 2.0 throughout the entirety of this year. I am very excited to see what the 2019 cohort brings to the table next year!

Thanks to Annie Clarke for the Emergence 2.0 photography!
Theatre Ontario will be launching our call for the 2019 Youth Advisory Committee later in November. Contact programs@theatreontario.org for more information.

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