CBC Theatre Workshop

A workshop on “Building a Career in Theatre” was held at the Alberta College Campus of MacEwan University, hosted by CBC personalities and stars of The Irrelevant Show, Jana O’Connor and Dave Clarke.

Distinguished types of individuals gathered to learn about ways to attain credibility in the acting world. The significant take away message from this event was mainly learning how simple, middle-class individuals can turn their life’s efforts of getting noticed by the big important influences in the world into themselves.

They hand over some major pointers to help entry level actors:

  •  Stay creative, but still have enough time to make money
  • Find like minded people and link up with them
  • Social media expansion, it’s a legitimate hobby
  • Be Persistent with potential employers
  • Get a Youtube channel going and display your talents
  • Find your niche, what motivates you?
  • Being open with your colleagues is a building block for success

They cautioned the eager young amateur actors to partake in volunteer opportunities, but to ensure that they are not losing consciousness of their primary end goal. It can be easy to lose track of what the initial goal was when volunteering for a non-profit organization or another acting opportunity according to Clarke and O’Connor.

Discussing the various theatre productions in the sea, a couple of familiar names popped up. We heard about the Fringe Festival, Art’s Council, and Jubilation’s Dinner Theatre, where all genres of acting and talents are invited to come show off their skills, whether that is musical performance, or street shows. While some of them may be more informal, others are much more catered to a different kind of audience. They emphasized that young actors should not “lose hope” in their everyday journey to being successful, and that it takes some time.

O’connor teaches improv on her down time at Rapid Fire while Clarke freelances on the side. They both encourage for young actors to participate in opportunities that provide them with experience with skills in their field of interest. It helps grow the technical skills as an actor that employers are looking for in higher positions for theatre productions.

“How do you find the time to balance paid work and volunteering?”

The “free gig” O’Connor found to be advantageous for networking, and building a strong back bone of credibility to her name in the theatre.

“Had I not done that, Peter Brown had never met me or seen me perform… If you’re really passionate about a company volunteering is a great way to get started” says O’connor.

Overall, both Clarke and O’Connor agree that it is imperative to know when the time comes to step back from volunteer opportunities and start hunting for a more profitable oppurtunity.

 

 

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The Glitz and Glamour

 

There been many discussion on social media about ‘Bell’s Let’s Talk’ Campaign, I decided to put my effort into advocating for mental health awareness and ensure that not just people in my life knew but anybody who ever crosses my path is informed.

Lately through interactions with people, I see that compassion and empathy are rare to find in people. I don’t recall the last time I came a cross a person who genuinely invested effort into an interaction purely out of interest, to learn more about the likes/dislikes, values, and goals in life of another human being.

When was the last time you heard someone say “are you okay?”

This is another potential issue that needs to be explored on behalf of us little people. We may not truly understand it now. But even those living in the glitz and glamour, those known as celebs are still battling/ struggling with the same mental battles that us little people are. They portray it in other ways.

Read between the lines, even G-Eazy’s new up and coming track “Me, myself, and I” is an nexus built as a call for help, or an indirect message to people that something is wrong. That he is tired of “turning up” a slang term known for partying amongst today’s young adults. We may look up to them or look at them as unreachable, but what it comes down to is we are all people. Each one of us is composed of the same basic biological matter.

Yeah, and I don’t like talking to strangers
So get the fuck off me I’m anxious
I’m tryna be cool but I may just go ape shit
Say “fuck y’all” to all of y’all faces

It changes though now that I’m famous
Everyone knows how this lifestyle is dangerous
But I love it the rush is amazing
Celebrate nightly and everyone rages

He touches on the issue of people who simply stay in his life to benefit themselves only. They continue to be present in his life and not because they care about him but just because they have found how to use him for his fame, and money.

It’s clearly stated there. He wants to break off from the world and sulk in his own space.

At this time it is really important to identify who is truly, genuinely and honestly there in your life for YOU, and who is there just to benefit for themselves. Either way, remember, your mental health sits higher than anything else in your life. That new job, the new car, social get togethers, events, classes, work. Put yourself first. Always remember that in the end, you are going to be there for yourself. It IS nice to have a support system, but sometimes you are the only one who has yourself, so as the song goes….

It’s just me, myself and I
Solo ride until I die
Cause I, got me for life

Talk to someone if you feel like something is wrong.

This is a very important issue to me personally, and also because of important individuals in my life who have been victim to mental health struggles.

Click here for support for youth or adults.

Thanks for reading if you did.

Stay strong

Avital Azarov

A Taste of Alberta at Congress 2015 Opening Cocktail

What Can be Considered Art?

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Let’s explore that question… culinary practice is usually not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about art. At the National Congress on Culture, Opening Cocktail, I went out and asked culinary experts about food creation as an art form.

Top Chef, Nelvin Reyes believes that in order to gain someone’s attention in the industry, an artist must use their culinary expertise to keep the guests or audiences entertained, whether it’s the way the dish is presented or the details which are added afterwards. The arts, heritage, diversity and spirit in the community, is told through these different characteristics that make up the cultural and artistic person.

Other culinary experts believe that the only thing which gets them ahead of the game is word of mouth. Sous Chef at North 53, Josh Dissanayake says, “it’s more important to do what you want to do than to know how to do something”. Josh took me through the steps to create the Duck Rilette with Salt Cured Foie Gras & Sweet N’Sour Jelly. With immaculate attention to detail, he provided evidence to backup the claim that culinary practice is indeed an art form.

Josh says that “anyone can cook if you learn how to, but to be an expert you have to cook beyond toast and eggs.” He embraces the culinary arts as a positive challenge and encourages taking the “least easiest thing to cook and make it into something likeable.” The challenge is what motivates him.

Culinary kitchens don’t often allow guests to view the actual kitchen. But at Josh’s restaurant, he lets guests tour the kitchen to see how food is prepared. People enjoy knowing where their food comes from, and it’s important for the community to see the hard work that goes into the art of food. It’s not just simply “stuffing your face,” says Josh.

When asked about his strategies for progressing in the culinary field, Josh emphasized that work is part of his identity, and his personality is brought out in the food.

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– See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2015/05/08/taste-alberta-culture-days-2015/#sthash.MXb3eag4.dpuf

Cities for People: Putting Art at the Centre

Culture Days and National Broadcast Partner CTV (Bell Media) invited Canadian journalism and media students to participate in a Student Reporter and Media Internship program during the Annual National Congress on Culture in Edmonton, Alberta on May 7 and 8, 2015. Five lucky students participated in this innovative program including a behind-the-scenes guided tour of the CTV Newsroom in Edmonton and a once-in-lifetime mentoring session with Marci Ien, co-host of CTV’s Canada AM.

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We, as cities, and communities, must create an environment, or habitat where each and every one of us does not just survive, but thrive. That’s the impetus of Cities for People, says Shawn Van Sluys, Executive Director of Musagetes Foundation who facilitated a conversation about the national initiative during #Congress2015.

With partners across the country, Cities for People explores a series of broad themes: CityScapes, New Economies, Citizen Spaces, and Art and Society. At #Congress2015, Van Sluys focused on the work of the Art and Society team who have been experimenting on changing the stories and practices of the community through arts and culture. Their goal is to find a way to make art more accessible in cities, and they recognize that they will need to use different techniques for different cities.

Van Sluys wants to transform unused spaces in cities into useable spaces. For him it is about people contributing to the creation of their city. People should “not just be living in concrete blocks but should have a reflection of themselves in the city,” he says.

The creation of Cities for People reflects the urgency to understand each other across the world. According to Sluys, the arts build empathy and have the capacity to increase love between people of different cultures across the world. With an interest in art education and centrality of arts, Sluys asks: how do we create a more accessible space for the arts? “How do we connect arts in a meaningful way to the urgent issues and concerns in society?”

The SenseLabs project in Lethbridge, Alberta has been looking at ways to address these questions. Participants looked at wasted spaces in the city, such as spaces between boulevards, and came up with a two-week project to “fill” those wasted spaces. A red carpet was placed in all the places that are overlooked in the city.

“Our perception of the world is developed through artistic thinking, and when we are living in a city where every building or potential artistic space can be creatively decorated, then members of the community should join together to make it a better place to live,” says Sluys.

The SenseLabs engaged a group of non-artists to be creative, and discovered that most of them had some experience with drawing that they carried with them from early childhood.

So “how do you make arts central and meaningful in our community?,” asks Sluys.

Cities for People suggest that individuals in a community do not become interested in arts and culture until they practice it themselves. Sluys says we should remove barriers in the cultural industry.

“We are not paying to see that piece of art the same as we do for outdoor concerts. There’s a difference between not paying for art because it’s worthless and engaging audience with complimentary performances and street art,” he says.

The question we ask moving forward is, “how can we hold ourselves responsible for improvements in our city?”

– See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2015/05/12/cities-people-putting-art-centre/#sthash.VGtiMIBX.dpuf

Animal Welfare of performing animals has become a concern to pet trainer, Yvette Van Veen.

“Entertainment to me is one of the places you’d say is just for fun there shouldn’t be a downside but it’s an industry where there might be evil to true entertainment,” says Yvette Van Veen, a Certified Dog Behavior consultant.

Van Veen has spent 14 years training pets, she is known for training dogs who perform at dog shows. She is also a pets’ reporter for the Toronto Star mainly about animal behaviors and ways to improve relationships between pet owners and their pets.

In a recent article titled ‘Animals used for entertainment should also enjoy the show’  Van Veen mentioned an investigation in Marineland  by the OSPCA that called for accusations about Marineland, a themed amusement and exhibition park. It involved poor water conditions that caused aquatic mammals to suffer from blindness, redness in eyes, and damage to fins and body parts.

Performing animals and mammals struggle to stay alive due to the poor living conditions which results in force used by the trainer.

According to Veen, orders were made by the OSPCA (Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)  to examine several marine animals, build better shelters for deer and elk, and install a good water filtration system.

“In Ontario, there’s no where else you can go to see animals like that, but the fact that they treat them poorly compared to their natural habitat is  unacceptable.”  said Julia Vitale, a four year employee at Canada’s Wonderland.

She explained that the mistreatment of performing animals is now on a larger scale and people won’t turn a blind eye on these issues now.

OSPCA Agent Brad Deward, says that animal welfare laws Ontario currently has in place for wildlife such as raccoons, and coyotes.

He discourages citizens from causing any harm to the wildlife and emphasizes that we must learn to live with them.

“We also offer ways  for people to minimize the damage that wildlife might cause to their property.” He said.

The SPCA is an organization dedicated towards animal welfare from sheltering point of view as well as education and enforcement.

They investigate zoos and circuses that come into the city. An officer will be there to inspect how the animals are transported, how they are being kept, and that they are being provided for as required by law.

“It’s heart wrenching to see stories about neglect and no animal should ever have to suffer or be without the necessities of life. its rewarding to be able to help them.” said Deward

Marineland was issued six orders in 2012 by the OSPCA and the investigation is still on going.