I’ve had the incredibly good fortune to be a member of the planning committee for the Compass Points program at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival (MNTF) for the past two seasons. A number of fantastic opportunities were afforded to me as a direct result of my participation in MNTF. The festival truly helped me grow as an artist and a human and for that I am tremendously grateful.
Some context: MNTF is Canada’s only national theatre festival and Compass Points is their programming for emerging artists. I’m a theatre artist from Winnipeg and I’m not going to tell you how old I am. My primary artistic practice is in directing, although I also produce and work as an administrator. I became involved as a member of the planning committee after meeting Brian Postalian, the Compass Points curator, at another emerging artists program.
The first MNTF I attended was two years ago in Ottawa. The most noteworthy part of my Compass Points experience in Canada’s capital was that I actually inadvertently got a job out of it. During one of the festival bar events, I met Eric Epstein, the Artistic Director of the Yukon Arts Centre (YAC). Eric and I became friends on Facebook and he reached out to me when YAC had a job opening in their theatre presenting department, which I eventually got. I was at Compass Points in July and that October I was living in Whitehorse. As fate would have it, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival was happening in Whitehorse the next summer. Being able to participate in MNTF in the place where I was then calling home was such a blast – I had so much fun introducing the Compass Points participants and others at the festival to my workplace and adopted city.
As I mentioned above, I am very thankful for the unique opportunities I was able to experience thanks to Compass Points. I met amazing theatre practitioners, both peers and mentors. I saw shows that were innovative and creative. I witnessed and participated in panel discussions, workshops, and keynotes that empowered and inspired me. And I had my viewpoints on theatre and my personal practice challenged and changed. Getting a job was pretty cool too! I feel very lucky to have met Brenda Leadley, the former AD of Magnetic North. She became a role model of mine for her bravery and inclusive programming. I am certain that Brendan Healey’s festival will be equally as exciting to take part in.
If there is anyone out there that is contemplating applying to participate in the festival in Ottawa this year, I would encourage them to without hesitation. Being on the planning committee means that you also get to have a hand in putting together the programming for Compass Points, which is a great learning experience.
If you’re interested in applying to join the National Planning Committee, applications are being accepted until February 27 at 11:59 EST.