Thursday, 28 February 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 trained in administration and managing direction with Shawn Daudlin at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto

(February 19, 2019) So my training program is almost done. Which saddens me because I have really enjoyed going to Buddies and working in the building among the fine and talented staff members. Over the last two months it has been interesting attending Buddies’ weekly management meetings. I’ve been able to directly report on my HR findings and how they affect Communications and Building departments. I’ve also been privy to bar reporting and future event planning—and have even hopped on some party planning committees for Buddies’ 40th Anniversary celebration at the end of May.

Dyke Night went really well. The older crowd from the reading stayed and danced with the younger groups that showed up for the DJ portion of the night and I got a lot of feedback about how much Toronto needs Queer Women’s spaces. As such I’ve been able to parlay that feedback into potential women’s programming for 2019-2020. Being able to be in the building to talk briefly with the Artistic Director and Managing Director about my ideas has been really helpful—just being around and in the room provides opportunity I wouldn’t normally have. As a result I’m working with Buddies to apply for some community initiatives that would highlight women in the space—they would be performance based nights with the purpose of bringing intergenerational women together. Keep your eyes peeled for those nights September to June, 2019-2020.

Working on the Human Resource Manual has really opened my eyes to the importance of the AODA. Now wherever I’m working I’m thinking—how can we make this more accessible? How can we bring people with different needs together to celebrate, party, experience theatre? Aside from that, updating the manual was challenging. I don’t often have to write in HR speak (lol) so was intimidated by that task—the manual is under review right now so fingers crossed I did alright.

My mentor mentioned last week that there was a possibility that I could attend the PACT conference with him in Saskatoon this year. This would be an incredible opportunity for me to connect on the national level with other theatre administrators, widening my network and creating valuable learning possibilities. Due to the schedules of various individuals in the caucus, Shawn was unable to get me on a PACT conference call—but I’m keeping my schedule flexible to ensure that this could indeed happen despite the period of the PTTP being technically over at the end of February.

Altogether a very valuable learning experience. It’s one thing to see a company from the outside, all the perceptions we have around what that looks like- but to work on the inside I learned so much about the inter-dynamics of Buddies and how it operates on an annual scale. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

Related Reading:

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

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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