Samantha Serles works at Theatre Passe Muraille and has a uniquely fabulous job in theatre scene. She also has a very cute pic, and some of my favourite answers to the monthly Qs. Read ’em.
1. Where do you work? Can you sum it up in 3 sentences or less?
I’m the company dramaturge at Theatre Passe Muraille. I read scripts, meet with artists who are developing new work, and I’m involved in discussions about planning and programming for future seasons.
2. Why the arts? What’s made you focus your extra energy on theatre?
I’ve been involved in the arts and theatre since I was very young. I don’t think I can remember a time when it wasn’t part of my life. So it is not extra energy, but rather something that energizes me.
Telling stories is important to me, and I enjoy working in a field that is based on the cultivation and dissemination of stories.
3. The arts have a reputation for being lots of work and little pay – true or false? Care to elaborate?
Yes, but I think that is true of a lot of industries so I wouldn’t say that it is only a problem in arts. It seems like many people in the early stages of their career work on a part-time or contract basis and balance more than one job. That has been my experience so far, and it seems to be the case for many of my peers working in arts as well as other fields.
4. What’s the best thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
There are so many different kinds of theatre to choose from. We have so many different festivals and companies that are working and creating in diverse forms. But at the same time, the theatre industry in Toronto isn’t so big as to be overwhelming. There is a sense of community.
5. What’s the worst thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
As every good has a bad, trying to stay on top of what is current in Toronto is challenging, there are always new companies presenting new work and artists doing interesting things. It can be challenging to try to see it all. I constantly feel like there is some really great show that I’ve just missed!
6. What’s an adjective that can describe most of your days at your job?
7. Describe (in 3 sentences or less) what your favourite memory is from your current job.
Sitting in the audience at <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>FARE GAME: LIFE IN TORONTO’S TAXIS, a play that opened last week at Theatre Passe Muraille and is playing until December 8th. FARE GAME is about the taxi industry in Toronto and the lives of taxi drivers. Many drivers have come to the show so its it’s been really interesting to hear about their reactions to the material and seeing their stories represented on stage. Also, because the focus of my job is often thinking and dreaming about what plays could be, and what we may do in future seasons at Theatre Passe Muraille, it’s so exciting to see a play that has been developing over the past couple of years come to fruition.
8. What’s the last play that you saw that really made an impression on you?
<em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>THE HOURS THAT REMAIN by Keith Barker produced by New Harlem Productions & Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company. I was so engrossed in the suspense of the story and the way the plot unravels, but it is also about such an important and heartbreaking issue – a story that needs to be told and should be seen by as many people as possible.
9. If you could do any other job, arts professional or not, what would it be?
10. If the Toronto theatre scene was a woman, what advice would you offer her?
Wear many layers, the climate is always changing.