Persephone Appoints Co-Leads of new Artists’ Working Group
Like most arts organizations, Persephone began with a bunch of artists who saw a need in the community and had the drive to fill it. Theatre artists worked together to create a theatre company. Over time, it became an institution that propelled itself forward and lost the strength of that connection.
In this time of reflection and re-set we are opening up to bring the theatre community back into the conversation. It is critical that we involve the artistic community as we look to our future.
Persephone has struck an Artists Working Group co-led by Yvette Nolan and Cynthia Dyck. Their job will be to gather other theatre practitioners and bring the artists’ perspective into the conversation about the theatre’s artistic direction and place in the community.
This working group is in response to requests from the theatre community to consider alternate artistic leadership models, to find better ways to listen to and communicate with the community, and to be more transparent in its processes. “The appointment of this working group demonstrates Persephone Theatre’s commitment to welcoming and trusting the community,” said Cynthia Dyck.
“I’m excited to return to the roots of this theatre company by having theatre practitioners build the organization that Persephone will be in the future,” said Board President Nikki Hipkin.
Theatre artists will join Persephone’s employees and the Board to answer the question – what does the community need from Persephone now and what does that look like for the theatre?
Persephone has spent the past six months consulting with the community, facilitating staff/board working groups, undertaking indepth analyses and reworking of policies and procedures that no longer fit who we need to be. Now we turn our eyes to building and strengthening our theatre company to respond to the challenges of our time/the future.
Both Nolan and Dyck have an incredible depth and breadth of experience in theatre and bring an openness to new ideas and a curiosity about how theatre institutions can better connect with the artistic and patron communities.
“Persephone Theatre is fortunate that these experienced leaders who are respected locally and across the country will lead this work for our theatre community.” said Kristen Dion, General Manager of Persephone Theatre.
“I believe in theatre, believe it is critical in creating and maintaining dialogue in communities, and I am excited to work with the artists and the members of Persephone Theatre to reimagine the relationship,” said Yvette Nolan.
“I’m very excited that this process has begun and that this phase of community involvement will be led by Cynthia and Yvette. We have heard from our community that this is the kind of communication and involvement that they expect to see from Persephone.
This process aligns with the work we have been doing internally to improve the culture within the organization and our efforts to repair relationships within the community.” said Kristen Dion, General Manager of Persephone Theatre.
“Persephone will still be the great theatre that Saskatoon and area has grown to love. Only better,” said Hipkin.
If you would like to stay up to date or participate in this conversation please let us know.
I have been involved in professional theatre, one way or another, for the past forty years. My first job out of high school was running the box office at the fledgling Persephone Theatre. Since graduating from the UofS Drama Department I have performed, designed, produced; been a stage manager, a house manager, and a general manager. Through my career I have worked with every professional theatre in Saskatoon and area.
Presently I am the Executive Director of On the Boards Staging Company in Saskatoon, SK. I co-founded On the Boards as a direct response to the limitations of the traditional model of theatre production. As a Shared Platform, On the Boards anchors the activities of self-producing artists and small organizations with practical administrative and production support.
When I am not busy with On the Boards, the occasional acting job, or walking my dogs, I advocate for the arts serving on various boards, most recently with the Saskatchewan Association of Theatre Professionals, the Association of Creative Industries of Saskatchewan, and The Saskatchewan Arts Alliance.
Persephone’s significant impact to Saskatoon’s arts sector is undeniable. I look forward to contributing to the theatre’s ongoing evolution to serve our dynamic city.
Yvette Nolan (Algonquin) is a playwright, director and dramaturg. Recent work includes The Young Ones (writer, Sum Theatre in the Park) Shanawdithit (libretto, co-director with Michael Mori, Tapestry Opera), The Penelopaid (director, Ferre Play Theatre), Bearing (co-creator, director with Michael Greyeyes, Signal Theatre/ Luminato Festival, The Tempest (director, Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan). Upcoming: Tapwewin – Her Inquiry (with Maria Campbell, Marilyn Poitras and Cheryl Troupe).
Her book, Medicine Shows about Indigenous performance in Canada was published by Playwrights Canada Press in 2015. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.