Thursday, 17 January 2019

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Claire Burns

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

Claire Burns training in administration and managing direction with Shawn Daudlin at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto

Part 1: December 2018

Since I moved to Toronto in 2001 I have been a wildly enthusiastic fan of Buddies and, like many in our community, I’ve enjoyed so many different aspects of its programming over the years. I first started coming for the dance parties and club nights as a university student, and as I became more immersed in Canada’s independent theatre scene, Buddies became my go-to for dynamic, experimental, alternative performances. I worked at it’s call centre in 2009, delivering frontline support for the development team as an enthusiastic sales person, and I’ve been connected to the organization in various ways ever since: either on stage as a performer, at events as a volunteer, behind the coat check as an employee, or in the theatre seats as an an avid fan of the programming, mandate, and aesthetic. In Toronto, we are lucky to have a space dedicated to queer performance and queer culture. I’m excited to mobilize my existing networks and to grow and develop new relationships that will continue to support such a unique organization.

In the past several years I have gained significant hands-on experience running an independent space and producing theatre performances within a range of budgets, however I am now ready to develop my skill set as an arts administrator in an established institution. I have a particular interest in arts management as it serves as the backbone of company operations. I submitted three major goals to learn from Buddies Managing Director, Shawn Daudlin: Human Resources, PACT and Financial Reporting. As someone who is passionate about my work and keen to translate that passion into long-lasting relationships, I am hungry to improve my skills in development administration, and to create new opportunities for supporters and party-goers alike to join me in investing in the bright future of Buddies in Bad Times.

Part 2: January 8, 2019

My PTTP has begun! Thank you to Theatre Ontario for this opportunity! I’ve started my work with Shawn Daudlin, the Managing Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and I couldn’t be more inspired.

First off, we entered ALL the financial finals into CADAC (Canadian Arts Data/Donnees sur les Arts au Canada.) It’s a web based application dedicated to the collection of financial and statistical data of Canadian Arts Organizations. You can check out the website at The CADAC is the platform where you report financials for Operating Funding through the OAC and CCA. I wanted to learn how to do this: i.e. how to input the numbers literally, but I also wanted to glean how Buddies separates their financial categories and what the back-end of their bookkeeping looks like. At Storefront, I’m the one primarily dealing with the financials and really have no training on this save for what I’ve learned myself. I was able to use the information that I received through this at Buddies to create a more cohesive budget and financial report for Storefront.

My second task with Shawn Daudlin at Buddies is updating the Human Resource Manual. Theatre had a big year re Human Resources, what with the Soulpepper situation, and clarity around HR reporting and workplace behavioural expectations have become more rigorous. I’ve taken a multitude of HR Supervisor training modules online and am in the process of drafting an updated manual. This is hard work and frankly intimidates me because HR involves a lot of legislative language which I always find a little thick to read and understand.

My third task is my favourite! I get to help book and plan more women’s late nights at Buddies. Buddies has done an incredible job at diversifying their theatre programming to reflect their inclusive mandate. However, the late club nights are still predominantly filled with cis-males. I’m in a unique position because I work late nights behind the bar and have a real interest in event/party planning, I have had experience running parties through Storefront and Inside Out Film Festival, and am a queer lady who wants her peers to take up more space! In November I attended an event hosted by Daily Xtra about how to get more Queer Women’s Spaces in Toronto. There are currently no lesbian bars or women-only bars on Church or ANYWHERE in the city and it’s obvious that this community wants more opportunity to come together. Buddies is holding a reading of Dyke City, the seminal ‘90s lez serial written by Sonny Mills, on Friday January 18th as a part of their 40th Anniversary Season Series, and I’m planning the after party! Come on out! All Ages, Free Event! Check out the event on Facebook here and come party in your best 90s dyke attire!

Dyke City After Party
Dj LL Cool Wei
Host Ashton Cootcher
Burlesque performances by
Ferrera Rose & Zyra Fresh Prince & Dainty Smith of Les Femmes Fatales
No Cover
Doors at 10pm
Best Jean Jacket contest at Midnight
10pm come and party with the lesbians, bi girls and anyone in between. All welcome. 
Strap on your hottest retro lezzie look and go down on Dyke Night like a bush on fire!

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2019.

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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