Emi Forster is the General Manager of SummerWorks

Published on: August 11, 2014

Filled Under: 9-5, SummerWorks

Views: 785


Emi Forster is the jack-of-all-trades General Manager at SummerWorks.  She answered the questions below about Toronto, theatre and how the combination of the two is always a labour of love.

1. Where do you work? Can you sum it up in 3 sentences or less?
I’m the General Manager at the SummerWorks Performance Festival, which is Canada’s largest juried and curated performance Festival. It’s an incredible, fast-paced environment full of energy and amazing committed people – especially now, in the middle of our Festival!

2. Why the arts? What’s made you focus your extra energy on theatre?
I don’t think it’s about focusing my extra energy, I think it’s about focusing ALL my energy. I’ve known for as long as I can remember that I wanted to work in the arts – it’s something I live and breathe and that I care deeply about. What really motivates me is being able to make art happen, so whether that’s creating my own work (which I do as a choreographer) or supporting the work of other artists as I do at SummerWorks I feel very fulfilled.

3. The arts have a reputation for being lots of work and little pay – true or false? Care to elaborate?
True! But it’s a passion career, in many ways a lifestyle career. You might not make a lot of money, you will definitely work long hours and juggle an insane workload, but you’re doing something you genuinely love and I think for many people that’s really hard to come by. I feel very grateful that I’ve found something I love to do.

4. What’s the best thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
Being inspired by amazing work and amazing artists.

5. What’s the worst thing about working in theatre in Toronto?
Being under-resourced and unable to give as much support to artists as you’d like to.

6. What’s an adjective that can describe most of your days at your job?
Busy! During the Festival I’m here all day every day, and we’re flat out. But even during the year leading up to the Festival it’s busy – there’s always fundraising to do, planning, marketing, and of course we start on our callouts pretty early on, so it is very much a full time year-round job.

7. Describe (in 3 sentences or less) what your favourite memory is from your current job.
My favourite memory is being made at the Festival right now! We have an amazing team and it’s an absolute job to spend so much time with them. We all work really well together, and we haven’t driven each other crazy yet…

8. What’s the last play that you saw that really made an impression on you?
I saw Thus Spoke… last night at SummerWorks for the first time in English and loved it. We first saw it in Montreal in French, which I don’t speak, but it was so aesthetically strong and I’m really glad to see it here. I love it because it’s non-narrative, which is more interesting to me, and it combines text, movement and amazing design, so it’s both conceptually and visually brilliant.

9. If you could do any other job, arts professional or not, what would it be?
I’ve sometimes thought of being a physiotherapist, lawyer, writer, doctor, academic, professional traveller, yoga teacher… but I always come back to the performing arts in one way or another.

10. If the Toronto theatre scene was a woman, what advice would you offer her?
I’m from Australia, so… I would tell her to get out there and see the world!

The SummerWorks Performance Festivval is on now until August 17th!

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