1.How do you participate in the SummerWorks Performance Festival, and why is your job important to it?
I take care of the publicity for the festival. We accredit all the incredible media that come out to review shows and write about SummerWorks. It’s important because it’s one of the key ways that we let the city and the country know about all the amazing programming SummerWorks offers. We help create some buzz surrounding all the different things the festival does.
We service the press and we also service SummerWorks. This festival is one of my favourites to work with and for. At ClutchPR (www.clutchpr.com) we’re used to handling film and television and lifestyle so getting a chance to represent one of the country’s best theatre fests is a great honour.
2. Why do you engage with the SummerWorks Performance Festival? What has it taught you as an artist?
I engage with this festival because it connects me to a world of artists that I’m not normally engaged with. It’s a very exciting fest in that it connects theatre with music, dance with visual arts and everything in between. There is lots of cultural cross pollination which always results in exciting work.
My favourite part of the job is when I know that I helped someone discover the festival for the first time. Every year gets better and better. Not sure that I would call myself an ‘artist’ although I’ve always loved the idea of me being one. From that perspective SummerWorks has taught me that risks are a good thing, that anything is possible and that the level of talent in our country is astounding.
3. What advice would you give to a newbie SummerWorks attendee so that they really get a feel for the festival?
Get yourself the gorgeous printed brochure. See at least five theatre shows and two music shows. Drop into the Performance Bar anytime on Aug.10th,11th,12th,16th,17th and 18th from 8pm onwards. The Performance Bar will be the social hub of the festival and is offering some really original shows. It’s also Pay-What-You-Can.
4. Why do you think SummerWorks is important to the Toronto, and national, arts scene?
Its important to Toronto because it uses the city in an interesting way and livens up the city for 11 days. There are six major venues, three offsite venues and a slew of other spots featuring crazy cool performance art pieces as part of the Live Art Series. SummerWorks injects electricity into the city. It’s crucial to the national arts scene because it brings artists in from across the country. The pedigree of talent involved with the fest is renowned.
This year alone names such as Daniel MacIvor, Richard Greenblatt, Arisinee Khanjian, Nina Arsenault, Anton Piatigorsky, Brendan Healey, Tania El Khoury, Maeve Beaty, Gord Rand, Ravi Jain, Rosmary Dunsmore, Tamsin Kelsey, Ame Henderson, Ron Pederson are involved with Summerworks. These are renowned artists who have presented works around the world.
5. There’s never enough time to flesh out all we want to in our jobs, so what do you wish you had more time to do with your job?
I wish I had more time to see more shows. More time to get to know all the artists involved in the festival in a personal and intimate way.
I wish I had more time to pitch every. single. journalist on the planet so they could be made aware of the sheer awesomeness of this festival.
6. Female, artistic/creaitve influnences; who were yours?
I love women and am inspired by them every day. Every woman I know plays a million different roles and is a professional juggler. My mother is my hero. Other females that I have a great deal of respect for some of the city’s top PR professionals including Debra Goldblatt at rockit promotions and Andrea Grau at TouchwoodPR. Also most of the woman you’ve featured in your column here have influenced me in one way or another.
7. Finish this sentence: If the SummerWorks Performance Festival were a woman, she would _be the life of the party.
8. Money, (wo)man power, and time aren’t issues: what do you want SummerWorks to do next?
I want SummerWorks to expand programming and expand sponsorship efforts. I would love the festival to have a year round home – a theatre hub for workshops, for shows, for artists of all walks to call home and to meet in and work at. I’m confident that SummerWorks will soon be the best theatre festival in the world. Regarded by industry professionals as the per-eminnent place to see new Canadian works and top tier talent.
I say this in all honesty —I have never seen a SummerWorks show that didn’t move me in one way or another. The quality of work astounds me every year. I’m so proud to be involved with it.
Next stop: taking over the world one show at a time!