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Meet the Kates

Meet Kate and Kate; Kate Duncan and Kate Sandeson, that is. Down in the rehearsal hall for Fool For Love, if you call out for Kate, both the Stage Manager and the Assistant Stage Manager will come running. Get to know them!

What is your job title, have you been with Soulpepper before, and what does your job consist of?

KATE DUNCAN (KD): I am the Assistant Stage Manager for Fool For Love. My job consists of managing the backstage elements of the show, including props and costumes and any needs the actors may have backstage.  Together with Kate Sandeson, our Stage Manager, I help facilitate the process from rehearsal preparation through to the closing performance. I have worked at Soulpepper previously as an Apprentice Stage Manager on The Crucible and The Royal Comedians in 2012, as well as one of my favourite shows to date, Alligator Pie in both 2012 and 2013.

KATE SANDESON (KS): I am the Stage Manager for Fool For Love. I have worked at Soulpepper before as an Assistant Stage Manager on Billy Bishop Goes to War, for colored girls…, Happy Place, and Glenn.

My job as Stage Manager is to help facilitate the rehearsals, both in the hall and technical rehearsals, as well as maintain the show standard once we are open.

This means keeping clear communication open between departments and tracking all the moving pieces that encompass the rehearsal process from actors with props to when lighting and sound might need to happen. In a technical rehearsal the stage manager is the hub for all the information from designers to help create the final technical product that the audience sees on stage each night.

What are you most excited about with Fool For Love?

KD: We have an incredibly talented cast of actors, so it’s very exciting to watch them rehearse and piece the show together. Also, one of the most exciting parts of the production process for me is beginning on stage rehearsals where we merge the work we have been doing in the rehearsal hall with the work of our creative team including set, costume, lighting and sound designers.

KS: My favourite part of any rehearsal process is getting to meet and work with the artists who are involved. Fool For Love has a stunning cast as well as an amazing creative team. Not to mention, working with all of the talented people that keep Soulpepper running behind the scenes!

What is the craziest thing you’ve done for love?

KD: My boyfriend and I took a trip to Iceland last year; he is a very skilled hiker and wanted to climb a glacier while we were there. This was a bit out of my comfort zone but outfitted with ice picks and boots with spikes, we went for it. He ended up asking me to marry him while we were hiking on the glacier, so it was totally worth it!

KS: I’m a pretty low-key person and don’t tend to lean towards crazy when it comes to my romantic life. I just make decisions and then tell the people around me I’ve made them. I did corner my now husband backstage right before we had to do an onstage change during a performance and ask him to be my boyfriend. He had no choice in the matter in the moment – but here we are married for 1 year this summer and together for almost 8!

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

KD: I have a rescue dog named Riley and I love taking long walks with her in my spare time. I also love to travel when I’m not working on a show. My next travel destination is Cape Cod in August!

KS: You can usually find me hanging out with my husband and cat at home on the sofa. If I’m not there I am at Soulcycle – spinning brings me a lot of joy and keeps my energy and positivity up! ​

Be sure to catch the hard work Kate and Kate put into running Fool For Love by Sam Shepard beginning July 13.

Staff Profile: Seren Lannon, Assistant Stage Manager, Little Menace: Pinter Plays

Right now Little Menace: Pinter Plays is in rehearsal getting ready to hit the stage later this month. Assistant Stage Manager Seren Lannon is part of the magic that happens in the hall to bring a show from the page to the stage.  Get to know more about her and the works she does through her staff profile.

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

I am the Assistant Stage Manager for Little Menace: Pinter Plays. My first show with Soulpepper was A Christmas Carol in December of 2017. We are in the thick of rehearsals right now so my job consists of a variety of tasks including tracking props and costumes, running lines with the cast, and assisting our Stage Manager with anything else that may come up.

What has your experience been going from Apprentice Stage Manager to Assistant Stage Manager?

My experience going from Apprentice Stage Manager to Assistant Stage Manager has been fantastic. It’s always a bit of a challenge when you take on a new role, but I have loved the opportunity to gain more responsibility and become even more involved with the running of a show. I am also working with some really great people right now, and that has made the transition much easier.

What is the best part about the job?

For me the best part of my job has always been rehearsals. Getting the chance to be in the room and watch artists create something that didn’t previously exist, or interpret a pre-existing work in a completely different way, never gets old. I’ve also always been fascinated by the creative process and how it differs depending on the material and who is involved. No matter how many shows I do, no experience is quite the same, and that keeps it very exciting.

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

Many of my friends are also in the industry so when I’m not working, I try and see as many other shows as possible. I also read voraciously, and run a Bookstagram account on Instagram called @booksonatrain_.

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

Before I decided to pursue a career in Theatre, I wanted to be a journalist! I spent a lot of time writing while I was growing up, and I still have stacks of journals that I wrote in daily. Although I don’t write as often as I used to, a love of literature and the written word is still a big part of who I am. I also played the Alto Saxophone for six years.

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

I am really looking forward to the announcement of the summer season and what the future holds for Soulpepper under new leadership! I am also very excited to see August: Osage County in the spring. The entire team on that show is stellar, and it’s a play that I’ve always wanted to see.

Staff Profile: Milusha Copas, Communications Coordinator

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

I’m the Communications Coordinator at Soulpepper. I started here in October of last year, so it’s been a fast paced, but certainly enjoyable, 419 days. Lately it has been a lot of winding up the slingshot we call the Family Festival, getting it ready to launch when A Christmas Carol and Peter Pan hit the stage. There has also been some joyful singing – we’re all going to be singing “you gotta bow wow wow” for the next three months until Rose closes. For the record, that is not in my job description!

What is the best part about the job?

I love that my job is to talk about (really good) theatre, with anyone that will listen!

I went into communications not really knowing exactly where I wanted to land, but spent all of my down time befriending the students in my University’s theatre department and seeing all the shows in the city…

One day I thought to myself “oh, of course theatre companies need someone to talk with the media and the public, actors can’t play every role” and that is the story of how I ended up at Soulpepper putting together this newsletter for you every month. Better yet, if you ever flip open the paper and read a review of a Soulpepper show, that critic got their seat by coming to me first.

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

I am playing weird board games, living out my life as an amateur dancer with my friends, or mentally planning my next trip. I’ve got a few lined up in my mind right now, just waiting for the right moment to take the time and jet off.

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

I love monster trucks.

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

If the bit above about singing “bow wow wow” didn’t tip you off, I’m very excited for Soulpepper’s brand new original musical Rose. I love musical theatre, and so getting to see our artists that I am so fond of put together this inspiring musical is a real work perk.

Of course, it will also be tremendous to have two cool and intelligent ladies guiding this company into its future. Our Executive Director Emma Stenning has started already and Weyni Mengesha our new Artistic Director will be starting in January. I’ll miss having Alan Dilworth around in that capacity but I can’t wait to see him back in his element directing The Virgin Trial and the Greek tragedy Wedding at Aulis – his direction of the last Greek tragedy Idomeneus has been my favourite Soupepper production I’ve seen to date.




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.