Central Newfoundland performing arts mentorship program wants to spark ideas

No one knows for sure what the theatres arts are going to look like at the other end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will it go back to what it was or will it find a new way to evolve?

There is a performing arts mentorship program starting in central Newfoundland that just might be able to find out.

The Tin Roof Project, an extension of the Kitchen Party Theatre Festival, is developed by Girls Power Inc. and the Gordon Pinsent Centre for the Arts.

“We want to encourage a good exchange of ideas,” said Bernardine Ann Teraz Stapleton, who helped create the project and festival with Nicole Smith.

The project will pair 10 emerging artists with established artists in an exchange of information. The idea is to connect artists in the theatre and performing arts world with mentors as a way to explore how the performing arts can adapt and thrive during and after the pandemic.

“Both will be learning from each other,” said Smith.

Space is aimed at central Newfoundland artists, as that is where it is based, but it is not limited to artists in that region of the province.

The name of the project is an homage to the seminal Tennessee Williams’ play “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and is a production that characterizes artists as people who will find ways to change with the times.

It was recently announced The Tin Roof Project would be receiving just over $36,832 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

“It is a development opportunity,” said Smith. “The arts have taken a hit from all of this.”

Diversity will be a stalwart part of the Tin Roof Project. The 10 spots available to emerging artists are being divided up into separate areas.

Two of the 10 spots are earmarked for Black, Indigenous or People of Colour artists. Another two will go to artists who are deaf or who are living with a disability.

There are two spots for emerging artists who identify as trans, non-binary or two-spirit, while four spots are for a general pool of artists.

Stapleton and Smith see it as a way to make sure different viewpoints and experiences get their opportunity in the program.

“It is really about making room for everybody,” said Stapleton.

The project opened for applications — email to [email protected] — a little while ago and the response so far has been good.



They have a stable roster of mentors ready to be paired and are hoping to get some more applicants before pairing them.

Still, the pair are chomping at the bit to see what ideas will come out of the sessions.

“I’m really, really excited,” said Stapleton.

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