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Staff Profile: Christopher Hackett, Young Centre Patron Services Supervisor

What is your job title, how long have you been with the Young Centre, and what has your job consisted of lately?

I’ve been with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts for 6 months as the Patron Services Supervisor, with a focus on Front of House Management.

What is the best part about the job?

Having the opportunity to work with our outstanding Patron Services Team to provide memorable experiences for our guests has been great, particularly for those who are under-served. I learned so much from our ASL interpreted performances and I can’t wait to delve into our Relaxed Performances. It has also been a treat to be able to work with our great volunteer team, a group whose dedication has no peer.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you?

I went to Grad School in England, earning a Master of Research Degree in Theatre and Performance.

When you are not at work, what are you doing?

Commuting to/from work.

What are you most looking forward to at the Young Centre/Soulpepper in the next few months?

Professionally, I’m very excited to see the direction of the company under our new Executive Director Emma Stenning, and our new Artistic Director Weyni Mengesha. Personally I am looking forward to seeing what the Students at George Brown have to offer as we move into the Christmas Market Season. I’m told that the child focused Munsch Goes to School will be a lot of fun and that the kids are wonderful. In the same vein, I’m excited to see Soulpepper’s remount of Peter Pan, as Peter Pan happened to be my very first ‘panto’ experience at the Theatre I worked in England.

Staff Profile: Kathy Mile, Associate Director of Development

What is your job title, how long have you been at Soulpepper, and what has your job consisted of lately?

I am the Associate Director of Development. I’ve been with Soulpepper for a little over a year now but, I actually worked for the Company, as Development Coordinator and then Manager from 2004 to 2008. It’s hard to believe that there was a gap of a decade when I worked elsewhere. It often feels like I never left.

In my current role, I manage our annual fundraising plan and development operations. It’s a pretty diverse portfolio of work and there are often other odds and ends that come my way.  Right now, I am preparing our Fall Donor Renewal Campaign and acting as the event manager for our upcoming gala, Signature Soulpepper.

What is the best part about the job?

How many other people can say they attend opening nights, dress rehearsals, and read-throughs for work? It’s a tough job.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you?

I lived in Edinburgh after I graduated university. I worked at the Edinburgh Fringe and got to experience the chaotic and exciting Festival season there. In August alone, the city hosts at least five or six different Festivals – it was a fantastic and fun time in my life.

When you are not at work, what are you doing?

I have two very active young kids and so my weekends are spent going to and from their swimming and gymnastics lessons, shuttling them to birthday parties, helping with homework, etc.  And laundry, there is lots of laundry. When we have a bit of downtime and the weather cooperates, we like to escape to our family cottage on Lake Simcoe.

What are you most looking forward to at Soulpepper in the next few months?

I’m really looking forward to seeing The Royale in a couple of weeks. Beyond that I’m very excited about getting to know Emma Stenning, Soulpepper’s incoming Executive Director as well as our new Artistic Director. There will be a lot of new creative energy in the office soon and I’m excited to see what the future brings.

Staff Profile: Myles Garland, Development Intern

What is your job title?

I am the Development Intern here at Soulpepper.

What does your role entail?

As an intern, my role here is to help out wherever I can! More specifically, my role entails assisting with administrative support, donor stewardship, marketing research, and event logistics and planning within the development department.

Describe a bit about the teams you work with?

I work closely with all members of the development team. Since starting here a month ago, I have spent the most time working with Brandon, Erin, and Angela, focusing on day to day operations including administrative support, thanking donors, and development research efforts. I also work with Mary, Director of Development, and Kathy, Associate Director of Development, on donor stewardship, reports, and some early stage event planning for upcoming Soulpepper events. I also work intermittently with the Marketing and Communications team, helping Brad, Milusha, Jason, and Michael with projects ranging from community outreach initiatives to miscellaneous marketing research tasks and archiving. I have also had the opportunity to sit down with Tania, and Chris, and will be helping out in various areas of the producing department within the weeks to come.

What are you most enjoying learning/working on while you’re here?

It’s extremely rewarding to be able to work within multiple different departments with their ongoing work and initiatives. I enjoy being able to see how they operate and overlap and learn how departments fit into one another. I also love working in an office that involves such a dynamic and stimulating work environment. Whether a day involves the option to participate in a professional development workshop, sit in on an arts management seminar, or get a sneak-peak at an upcoming production, there are always opportunities to learn more about non-profit management and what goes on behind the scenes. It’s also great to work within such a vibrant artistic community; I love feeling inspired by working with people who are so passionate about what they do.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you?

I love sharks! I spent a month doing volunteer field research in South Africa for marine conservation a couple years ago where I got to see and study great white sharks in the wild almost every day. I definitely wouldn’t dive into the water with them, but I love them from afar and you can probably find me watching shark documentaries in my spare time.


Staff Profile: Angela Chau, Development Officer of Corporate Partnerships & Foundations

What is your job title?

I am the Development Officer of Corporate Partnerships & Foundations here at Soulpepper.

What does your role entail?

My role primarily focuses on managing the relationships with our corporate sponsors and foundation partners that support our year-round programming as well as specific program initiatives, such as the Soulpepper Family Festival and Soulpepper’s youth and access programs.

What is the best part of your job?

What I love about fundraising is making those connections with our donors and supporters. It is satisfying to be able to help a donor develop a deeper connection with the company where they believe in the importance of our work to support us with a philanthropic gift. Each time our team receives a positive note or comment from a donor about their experience and why they support Soulpepper – whether it’s the talent of the artists they saw on stage, the way a scene made them feel, the importance or relevance of a production, or how the work we are doing in the community had a positive impact on someone they personally know – it is deeply rewarding.

When you are not at work, what are you doing?

You can often find me eating (love food!), taking long walks around the city, riding my bike, and taking fitness classes as I am an avid believer in the importance of self-care and taking care of your body. To me, health is wealth. You can also find me spending time with friends and family, as well as listening to podcasts because I am fascinated by the stories we tell, how they are told, and learning something new.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you?

I love to travel – experiencing and learning about other cultures, its history, cuisines, their way of life, has just helped me to be more empathetic and become a better human. My last big trip was to Peru which has now become one of my favourite destinations! My next trip? A two-week road trip in the States where I’ll be visiting Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon national parks – to name a few – and hope to find little gems in between. I also have a pretty extensive plant collection and I recently learned how to drive stick, which is something I’m pretty proud of!

What are you most looking forward to at Soulpepper in the next few months?

Soulpepper will be announcing its newest 2018-2019 season in July and I’m really excited for it all. I can’t share what those are just yet but what I can say is, although I am not part of the creative team, whenever I see our Soulpepper artists at work, I am always taken aback by the incredible talent and quality of the shows that Soulpepper has to offer. Stay tuned!


The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.

Staff Profile: Erika Connor, Assistant Head of Wardrobe

What is your job title?

I am the Assistant Head of Wardrobe as well as a Costume Designer for Soulpepper Theatre Company.

What does your role entail?

As a member of the wardrobe team I have the responsibility to fulfill a costume designers vision. This could include anything and everything from an actors head to their toes. Examples of which include millinery, jewellery, hair, make-up, clothing, fabric, and shoes. I source, purchase, pull from stock, alter, and/or rent these items, all while maintaining a given budget and deadline. I also costume design for Soulpepper and you can see my upcoming work in our production of Sisters by Rosamund Small this summer.

Describe a bit about the teams you work with?

I work closely with Sarah, our Head of Wardrobe. The wardrobe team includes Geoff, our Cutter, and Barbara, the First Hand. They are responsible for the tailoring, alterations and builds for a production. We also hire on extra stitchers as required.  We work closely with the Hair and Makeup Department Head, Jaqueline. Every so often we are able to employee the services of crafts people for specialty millinery, shoe making, distressing, and special effects. Once the production “hits the stage” we hand it over to our Dressers who are responsible for the maintenance and running of the costumes in the show.

Our wardrobe team truly is a team. I love my job and feel lucky to have found a position where I do what I love to do.

What is the best part of your job?

If I’m being honest, the best part of my job would be the thrill of the hunt… I love being resourceful and finding the perfect item! There is a thrill to thrifting a fantastic pair of vintage jeans that fits the actor perfectly – you all know how hard it is to find a perfect pair of jeans – or finding those SHOES! on sale.

When you are not at work, what are you doing?

When I am not a work, I am at my cottage!  I recently bought a modest little shack on the Georgian Bay where I am improving my DIY renovation skills. Who knew that grouting tile makes your whole body ache?!  I adore kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, stacking wood, and cross country skiing. I enjoy long walks on the beach, and am often seen gazing longingly at wallpapers I can’t really afford.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you? 

Something that people probably don’t know about me is that I have a twin brother named Eric. No, I don’t know what my parents were thinking. He is a chef and landscaper in Vancouver and I adore him.

I also have fantasies about one day opening a shop called “Face, Fanny, Feet” that sells lotions, potions, and oddities.


The views and opinions expressed in the articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization.

Staff Profile: Meg Woods, Associate Technical Director

What is your job title?

I am the Associate Technical Director here at Soulpepper.

Describe a bit about the team you work with?

I’m still figuring that out actually! I just joined the company in January and my first show, Animal Farm, hasn’t even closed yet. Soulpepper has a TD (short form for Technical Director) team of 4; a TD, an associate TD, and 2 assistant TD’s. Since Soulpepper is an ever-revolving door of productions there’s no way that one person could coordinate all the elements of every show. So we rotate—each person is assigned a show and by the time it opens they are assigned another. Of course we could not do it alone! We are able to lean on our fellow TD’s at any time. We might need advice on how to tackle a specific scheduling issue or have a structural or electrical question outside our wheelhouse. We each have different strengths and insights that are put to the test with each new show we tackle.

What does your role entail?

Technical direction is a title that encompasses a lot of different aspects but if I had to summarize it into one concept it’s sort of like being an air traffic controller. We are the ones who make sure that all the different elements of the show glide into the theatre smoothly and efficiently (and most importantly safely!) without getting caught up on one another or crashing and burning in the process. We have heads of departments like Props, Paint, Carpentry, etc., but we are the ones who assess and steer the bigger picture. We work with the team to cost and price out every department, ensuring that everyone is within their budget and coordinate ways to compromise if not. We talk to designers and directors to see what is possible with the time and resources we have along with keeping everyone in the loop throughout. We need to schedule the load-in of one show while working around the load-out of another, scheduling dozens of crew hours and making the stage ready in time for the actors. Once we get everything we need to land on the runway of the stage, it’s adjusting the everyday minutia of space to allow for creative growth and settling the play into its new home in time for the audience!

What is the best part of your job? And what are you most looking forward to at Soulpepper in the next few months?

This is going to sound really cheesy but since moving to the city a few months ago I was really worried about leaving all my family and friends. I was anxious about what the atmosphere at my new work place was going to be like. Calling my first day a bit rocky would be a huge understatement. It was chaos – and I was worried that I had made a huge mistake. But since then I have seen so much growth and motion towards change within the company. I have met some really great people and established a new support system that feels really genuine and very strong. There’s a new awareness in the building, and I’m really excited to be part of it. I’m also excited to see how the company uses the catalyst of finding a new Executive and Artistic Director as an opportunity to rebuild and grow. To improve the company as a whole. I’m really looking forward to that!

What are 3 fun facts about you? 

I am left handed, I have been skydiving and I’m an air hockey master!


Staff Profile: Robert Harding, Production Stage Manager

What is your job title?

I’m Soulpepper’s Production Stage Manager.

What does your role entail?

The definition as per the Canadian Theatre Agreement is fairly broad:

A “Production Stage Manager” shall be the senior Stage Manager and responsible for the stage management of all productions both in rehearsal and performance.

The bulk of my job is keeping an eye on how productions overlap, particularly with scheduling rehearsal and how casting decisions may influence the schedule.  Currently, A Delicate Balance is in performances and three of the six cast members are also in rehearsals. One is in rehearsal for Animal Farm, while the other two are rehearsing for Idomeneus.  They are subject to specific rules about when they are able to rehearse while also in performance. I passed these parameters on to the Stage Managers for Idomeneus and Animal Farm during their prep week and they work out with their Directors how best to proceed with the day to day needs of their rehearsals.

Describe a bit about the teams you work with?

Producing is my main point of contact.  Among many other duties, the producers maintain the Master Schedule and we work together on refining that schedule to the day-to-day rehearsals.  That schedule gets further detailed by the layering in of the technical rehearsal schedules by the Technical Director. When time allows, I provide an office presence for the Stage Managers while they’re busy in rehearsals and/or performance.

What is the best part of your job?

I also Stage Manage productions in the season, so wearing a headset and calling a show is and always will be the best part of my job.  Staying connected to the front lines of production keeps me in touch with the art and helps informs what I can accomplish in the office with a richer perspective.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

I certainly have had my limits tested, and my job requires a lot of forethought and patience.  It’s always an effort to turn it all off when I’m not here. There is always something that has just wrapped up, in process and imminently on the horizon.   The time commitment can be very demanding.  Striking a balance between having a family against a schedule that can entail a six day work week requires a lot close examination of priorities on both the work and home side of things.  Some days I get it right.  Other times, not so much.  Thankfully, I’m surrounded and propped up by strong, amazing people on both sides.

What are you most looking forward to at Soulpepper in the next few months?

Everything happening right now is so varied.  Calling Prohibition, the Concert is shaping up to be a lot of fun.  I am very much looking forward to the ASL interpreted performances of Idomeneus and finding out the details on how the cast of Animal Farm will be costumed.  Fine-tuning the schedule for March to July is underway; defining and refining the details to make that as smooth as possible is always very gratifying, so I’m looking forward to solving that next puzzle.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the organization