Category Archives: STAF

APT at Generator – First Iteration (2015-2016)

APT at Generator – First Iteration (2015-2016)

The first iteration of Generator’s Artist Producer Training (APT) initiative was conducted between October 2015 and April 2016.

The goal of APT is to have its graduates “create and implement projects and budgets that have the goal of paying a better wage to artists, gain skills to sustain a career in the arts, and improve the overall health of the theatre ecology”.

APT involved some regular classroom-style learning in the Generator offices, led by professionals working in the Toronto theatre community.

Fundraising with Outside the March

Learning about Fundraising from Outside the March’s Mitchell Cushman and Katherine Devlin Rosenfeld – 29 October 2015

Often these professionals were independent producers themselves, including staff of Generator’s Resident Companies; sometimes the discussions were led by others including funders and art critics.

Jon Kaplan from NOW Magazine, sharing some thoughts about the "Art of Reviewing" - 18 February 2016

Jon Kaplan from NOW Magazine, sharing some thoughts about the “Art of Reviewing” – 18 February 2016

APT participants studied and practiced within a wide range of subjects. For example, the following is the list of the focus for the third and final stage of classes (March-April 2016):

  • Cultural Diversity – Marjorie Chan (Cahoots Theatre)
  • Corporate Sponsorship – Alicia Rose (Framework)
  • Community Engagement – Brendan Howlett & Kaitlyn Riordan (Shakespeare in the Ruff)
  • Artistic Producing — Aislinn Rose (Theatre Centre)
  • Touring — Jeremy Smith (Driftwood Theatre) & Charles Ketchabaw (Fixt Point Theatre)
  • Production Management — Pip Bradford
  • Creativity within Constraints — Matthew Thomas Walker (Litmus Theatre)
  • Producing Model Case Study: The Riser Project Dead Roads and The Archivist – Owais Lightwala & Ravi Jain (Why Not Theatre)
Presenting assignments - 19 November 2015

Presenting assignments – 19 November 2015

APT is much more than a set of workshops, though. Participants were required to practice their developing skills and showcase their knowledge throughout the process: there were in-class exercises for most subjects, assignments related to planned productions, and participatory quizzes and capstone projects at the end of each stage to allow for a synthesis of the learning.

There were also field visits, to learn more about the practice of theatre producing from a different perspective.

Learning about The RISER  Project at The Theatre Centre, prior to seeing two RISER productions - 19 April 2016

Learning about The RISER Project from Why Not Theatre staff at The Theatre Centre, prior to seeing two RISER productions – 19 April 2016

APT field trip to The Riser Project at the Theatre Centre. Left to Right (Standing): MoP Evaluator Sherri Helwig, Troy De Four, Sehar Bhojani, Rose Hopkins, Generator ED Michael Wheeler, Andrea Scott, Why Not's Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Why Not's Associate Producer Kelly Read.  (Crouched) Kevin Wong, Generator's Dir. of Comm. Katie Leamen, Taliesin McEnaney, Why Not's Artistic Producer Owais Lightwala.

APT field trip to The Riser Project at the Theatre Centre. Left to Right (Standing): MoP Evaluator Sherri Helwig, Troy De Four, Sehar Bhojani, Rose Hopkins, Generator ED Michael Wheeler, Andrea Scott, Why Not’s Artistic Director Ravi Jain, Why Not’s Associate Producer Kelly Read. (Crouched) Kevin Wong, Generator’s Dir. of Comm. Katie Leamen, Taliesin McEnaney, Why Not’s Artistic Producer Owais Lightwala.

Participants were also afforded hands-on learning opportunities during placements with theatre companies.

Participants in this first iteration of the program discussed their experiences in a video (produced by Generator):

Current information about the Artist Producer Training initiative at Generator can be found at  http://generatorto.com/#/artistproducer-training-program/

Generator Offices

Annual Resident Companies at Generator

Generator offers office space, equipment, and rehearsal time to project-based, independent theatre companies over one year of growth or change as Annual Resident Companies.

For 2016/17 – the second year of the Annual Resident Companies initiative – Generator is introducing a two-tier residency system accepting two new resident companies as First Generation Resident Companies, and allowing companies from the previous year a repeat residency with more individualized focus (Second Generation Resident Companies).

Each First Generation company receives one week of rehearsal space at Artscape Youngplace, and 24-hour access to Generator including wifi, photocopier and printing, meeting spaces, mentorship, and classes in the Artist Producer Training Program. Generator is using ‘one size fits one’ as a guiding principle for our residencies: what one company needs is not the same as what another company needs but we can find ways to specifically tailor how we support artistic creation.

In the spirit of strengthening the indie community through collaboration and mentorship, these Annual Resident Companies will lead workshops and help teach selected sessions for the Artist/Producer Training Program – passing along their insight, experience and best practices.

Current information about the Annual Resident Companies at Generator can be found at http://generatorto.com/#/annual-resident-companies/

[Thanks to Generator staff for the text and images.]

STAF Open Source Brainstorm

An introduction to shared platforms

If the concept of “shared platform” organizational models in the arts  is new to you, this article I wrote for Spiderwebshow’s #‎CdnCult‬ Times May 2015 edition could provide a worthwhile introduction.

If you want to know even more, please feel free to take a look at the Means of Production working bibliography of related research, tools and materials, and return to this site for regular updates on Why Not Theatre’s RISER project and STAF’s incubator and training programs.

– Michael Wheeler, Executive Director & Transformation Designer, STAF *

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Note: the name of one of the subjects of this study has not been changed retroactively from its previous name (STAF) to the new name (Generator) in blog posts on this site in order to maintain timeline consistency.

Toronto Lightning Storm

Announcing a research and evaluation study

…and the start of a process of dealing with lightning -“bottling” it (sustaining and supporting creativity in new and powerful ways), and understanding enough about effect and impact to direct it to strike twice (and beyond).

A new two-year study (May 2015 – April 2017) has been launched to evaluate two collaborative ventures in Toronto’s theatre sector – specifically, a community residency Riser Project developed by Why Not Theatre and a constellation of new capacity-building programs for independent theatre producers by STAF * (the Small Theatre Administrative Facility). These projects can be viewed as dynamic test cases for shared platform and collaborative concepts that have been percolating for some time (particularly in earnest in the past few years).

Those involved in this study hope that this evaluation can benefit not only Why Not, STAF, and the partners and participants in these specific projects, but that the process might also inform and strengthen new and emerging ideas, the funders who support them, and the audiences and communities that appreciate and derive value from them.

This study is led by Sherri Helwig of S.L. Helwig & Associates, administered through the Toronto Arts Foundation, and generously supported by the Metcalf Foundation and Toronto Arts Foundation.

For more information about the study and its partners, please see this site’s About page.

Image: Toronto Lightning Storm, © S.L. Helwig & Associates, 2015.
Kevin Quinn, Photographer; Sherri Helwig, image editor.

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Note: the name of one of the subjects of this study has not been changed retroactively from its previous name (STAF) to the new name (Generator) in blog posts on this site in order to maintain timeline consistency.