How did you get started with your career in the arts and culture industry?
My mom loves to tell this story about bringing a 3 year old me to see the Nutcracker. For a toddler's first performance, the Nutcracker is not really a beginner's piece. Not only that, it's pretty long! She says I was totally mesmerized the entire time, that I didn't even move or fidget. My eyes were glued. She says she knew then that I'd be an artist. I spent the majority of my childhood trying every art form. When I discovered singing I hit the ground running. I became a competitive singer and a singer for hire in my teens. I thought I was going to be an opera singer but switched gears right before graduating High School and moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre. In NYC I discovered my artist's voice; getting involved in a lot of theatre for social change for children and youth and eventually created my own one woman show about me and my brother who is on the Autism spectrum. Creating my own work was the most empowering part of this artistic journey and one of the reasons I feel so passionately about helping young people at Thatz Showbiz find their personal artistic voices and the millions of impactful ways to be an artist.
What are your favourite York Region-based arts and cultural events/places to visit/things to do?
I was recently invited to a poetry slam competition at the York Region District School Board. It was just magic. Young people poured their hearts out in such powerful ways. The talent was extraordinary and the messages were so personal but also so universal and important. Themes of identity, heartbreak, self acceptance, toxic relationships, womanhood, the dangers of social media, the environment, cultural appropriation and so much more were explored through spoken word. I call creative experiences like this THE WORK. It's what community arts advocates like me need to be facilitating and supporting. It changes lives.
What are upcoming projects that you're excited to share with our readers? (You can mention your Call for Applications here and anything else that you'd like)
We've got a really exciting project coming up that is fully funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation so it's FREE for youth! It's called "3 Plays in 30 Days." We pair up young creatives (ages 13 -18) with professional mentors as they script, design, direct and perform their own original work. We are looking for young aspiring playwrights, aspiring actors, aspiring directors, aspiring stage managers and aspiring set designers (ages 13 to 18). No experience necessary to apply. Deadline to apply is May 1, 2018 and creating begins in July 2018. We will work around the schedule of the young people we've chosen and they'll meet for 11 hours a week. They will perform the plays with full sets and costumes at a theatre on September 9th. Go to www.3playsin30days.com to apply! Can't wait to hear from you!