Staff Profile – Molly Gardner, Education Coordinator
How long have you worked at Soulpepper and tell us a little bit about what you do.
I have been the Education Coordinator at Soulpepper for one year and five months but I was first introduced to the company as the Education Intern in the Spring 2010.
Now, as the Education Coordinator I work with our fabulous Education team to run all of the youth outreach and access programs at the theatre, as well as our programs in schools and the local community. I love my job because I get to work with young people (who are hilarious and teach me new things everyday), artists (who are also hilarious and teach me new things everyday) and a great staff of people here who all share a love of creativity and theatre. I am trained as a high school Drama and English teacher and am really privileged to work in a creative environment and kinetic company, like Soulpepper.
What kinds of shows/productions/events have you been involved in and what have you been working on lately?
Right now we are in the middle of our Youth Mentorship Program, which is a six-week intensive program for 16 to 19 year olds. It’s a busy and really exciting time of year. There are 12 amazing youth in the program this year and they have been doing incredible work with Paula Wing, the program’s lead instructor and Christian Lipp, her assistant who is a member of our Youth Leadership Council. This summer the participants have also been working with guest artists, exploring Flamenco dancing, spoken word, mask, music composition and scene study.
The end of the summer will also kick-off a brand new alumni program called Encounter the Text, which we are very excited about! A group of Soulpepper alumni youth will spend a week here immersed in the exploration of a classic text.
When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
I love spending time outdoors. Summer is such a great time of year because I love to bike, go on hikes, run and head to the lake when I can. I am definitely fuelled by the noise and goings-on of the city but I love finding quiet green places to relax and slow down. There is an old cottage in my family on an island on Lake Temagami that is one of my favourite places to be. I am going to try to get up there after our summer programs are done.
I also love to dance. When I was a toddler I would put on my shiny black shoes and pretend to perform in the middle of our living room. Dancing is something that has always brought immense amounts of joy to me and I am still known to haul out my tap shoes whenever I can or pirouette in the middle of my kitchen.
What do you love about being a part of the staff at Soulpepper?
Soulpepper is a community and everyone is connected – staff, artists and youth. I really appreciate that dynamic and feel that we all work together to make great art and programming happen.
I also love that Soulpepper cares and prioritizes Youth Outreach and Education as a company because it makes the work I do possible. The free creative youth programming that is offered throughout the year, as well as access programs like the VIP – Youth Come Free program, allow youth to engage with theatre creation and performance because they want to, without any financial barriers.
The youth around here are the present and future face of Canadian theatre and being able to work with them excites me to no end.