Hi, I’m Tilly, and I’m the new Prime Placement administration intern at Pi Theatre! I thought I’d use this blog post to tell you a bit about myself and my background, and the things I’ve been learning and doing during my first few weeks with Pi.
I’m from the UK and I’m in Canada on a 12 month working holiday visa. I came to Canada because it was a country I had always wanted to visit as a tourist, and I was also interested in learning about Canadian theatre, having heard that Vancouver had an especially creative and thriving theatre community. I have worked in various capacities as a freelance theatre practitioner in England, primarily in educational settings and roles. I have run youth theatres for children and young people of all ages, taught drama to students with learning disabilities, facilitated drama workshops for the NHS on mental health wards, designed and delivered educational resources and workshops for theatre companies, and worked as a drama practitioner for projects in a number of schools and colleges. In 2009, I completed my Research Masters in Theatre, which focused on contextual dramaturgy and how theatres contextualize performances for their audiences. After graduating, I did a placement with New Perspectives Theatre Company as Assistant Director on their national tour of Those Magnificent Men, which confirmed for me that I would like to direct and run my own theatre company at some point in the future, and when I got to Vancouver I decided that I wanted to learn as much as I could from the theatre community here. After volunteering for the Jessie Awards and the Fringe Festival, and setting up The Escapade Theatre Project with a fellow Fringer, I approached Pi about the possibility of doing an internship.
I have already learned so much in my first few weeks here… As well as getting an insight into financial procedures and accounts, I spent a great deal of time researching grant-giving foundations and trusts. Fundraising is a completely new area for me, and it was eye-opening to discover the number of foundations out there, the diversity in their philanthropic aims, and the range of projects they had given funding to in previous years. Next task was to draft a LOI – or letter of inquiry. This is the often the first contact a theatre company will have with a foundation, and they may make a decision to reject your request or invite a formal application after reading your two-page summarized introduction and proposal. With the need for theatre companies to find alternative sources of funding in the current climate, the pressure is on to make a good impression with your letter of inquiry!
A couple of interesting projects have also taken me out of the Pi office during my initial weeks here. On November 26th and 27th, I attended the Making A Scene conference, organized by the Greater Vancouver Professional Theatre Alliance. The conference was on the theme Devoted and Disgruntled: What are we going to do about theatre? and was facilitated by Phelim McDermott and Matilda Leyser of Improbable Theatre in London. The conference used “Open Space Technology” which basically meant that the attendees got to decide what was talked about and when. It was great to meet so many other people working in the Vancouver theatre community, and take part in some interesting conversations on subjects including what people want to see more (or less) of on stage, transitioning into a new career in the theatre, mentorship, and new ways of engaging young audiences.
The weekend was also taken up with Catalan Connection – see the previous blog post for more information!