Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Theatre Ontario Goes Back to School in Kingston at Our Summer Theatre Intensive

by Raeburn Ferguson, Professional Theatre and Education Manager

I am certainly missing my lakeside office as I reflect on the gorgeous week spent in Kingston on the Queen’s University campus for our 2019 Theatre Ontario Summer Theatre Intensive. There were times I forgot I was working while walking past the crystal blue water dotted with sail boats and the historic buildings covered in climbing vines. To say that I am happy with our choice to hold our intensive at Queen’s this year would be an understatement!

Not only was having our classrooms, accommodations and dining all within walking distance of one  another super convenient, but the close community feel of eating together and travelling to and from class with one another made the experience that much more special—and the friendships and connections I saw being made over the week were heartwarming.

We were truly blessed to have four incredibly talented instructors with us for the week. Sabah Haque (Devised Theatre), Andrew Lamb (Intro to Directing), Rosanna Saracino (Intro to Acting), and Alix Sideris (Commedia Dell'Arte) brought not only their immense knowledge and skills but also their friendly, fun personalities that really make them shine. They worked our participants hard! I even heard someone say at the end of day one “even if I went home now, I got my monies worth from the information I learned today.” The participants were excited about the work they were doing in class and formed study groups in the residence to work together.

Alongside the classes, we were able to have two nights of special activities—one being a play reading by Ottawa playwright Lisa Meuser (made possible by a grant from the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s “Play Connect” program, funded by the Canada Council), and the other a trip to the Thousand Islands Playhouse in Gananoque to see Glory by Tracey Power. This was truly a treat—if you have never been to this special theatre, it is a summer must. Imagine being on a beautiful dock by the water, moon shining in the sky as you sip a nice drink and then you step into the theatre for an amazing piece of Canadian theatre! 

The week seemed to fly by and I couldn’t believe it when I woke up and it was the final day of the courses. As everyone said goodbye and exchanged emails, and telephone numbers. I was overwhelmed by how truly special this event is. It was my very first time planning or being involved with it and as I looked around the room at the participants varying in age, background, and area of the province, it was incredible to see all these theatre lovers sad to leave their newfound friends. 

This was for me a perfect example of what Theatre Ontario is, a province-wide community of theatre practitioners and lovers coming together to learn and grow from their time together. I can’t wait to do this again and hope to see all of you there next year!

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