In early February, two cohorts from the Creative Strategies Incubator came together to share stories and support each other’s work. Representing eleven performing arts companies, members of the 2016 and 2017 groups met for coffee, collaboration, and connection at the Joey & Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre.
Michael Trent, Metcalf Performing Arts Director, welcomes the Canadian Opera Company’s Katherine Semcesen and Erin Schachter from The Musical Stage Company.
Participants settle in as CrSI Support Leads Shannon Litzenberger and Naomi Campbell join Michael Trent in describing how the two cohorts will work together. Though each year has a separate focus issue, by working together and using their different perspectives, they will assist one another in unlocking artistic potential and discovering new approaches to engage and build audiences and communities.
In the first exercise, participants talk about the internal and/or external change they are trying to achieve with their performing arts company.
Michael brings participants back for the second exercise. Using images to encourage lateral thinking, they identify a photograph that captures the barriers to change that they are experiencing in their work.
In selecting the image, participants are encouraged to move past first impressions in order to make room for the unexpected.
The Musical Stage Company’s Erin Schacter and Mitchell Marcus talk about what they see.
Shawn McCarthy and Lindy Kinoshameg of Young People’s Theatre share their thoughts on their images.
Hadrien Volle and Joël Beddows from Le Théâtre français de Toronto discuss their organization’s barriers to change.
Toronto Dance Theatre’s Jessica Whitford and two members of the Canadian Opera Company’s team, Maureen Callaghan and Nina Draganic, listen to Art of Time’s David Abel as he explains how the company is anticipating changing.
Shannon Litzenberger shares the findings of the breakout groups with the gathering at large.
In the final exercise of the day, the gathering breaks into three groups in order to focus on themes of cultural shifts, relationships, and capacity. The meeting ended with each cohort working alone. The 2017 cohort identified action items for the next three months and the 2016 cohort began to prepare for their final public sharing event in the fall of 2019.