Here’s a letter that I sent to ACTRA National, Toronto and Maritimes today, in an effort to get them to increase their funding to the Women In The Director’s Chair program. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I had a pretty great time…
To Whom It May Concern,
I am a full-member of ACTRA (member #**-*****) who has just returned from The Banff Centre in Alberta. There in Banff, I was taking part in the Women In The Director’s Chair‘s acting ensemble, which had all go through a rigorous two-week program, working each day with some of Canada’s brightest up-and-coming female directors.
I understand that from your standpoint, the Women In The Director’s Chair program could be easily be mistaken as something that’s purely beneficial to the directors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Working in the environment that Carol Whiteman has constructed, which gives everyone the “freedom to fail” and puts the process before the product, I have rediscovered what it means to be a true collaborator.
And also, more so than ever, I feel that I have defined what it means (to myself) to be an actor. Talking with other members of the ensemble, we all agree that we’re leaving the program feeling more empowered as artists than ever before.
I’m writing you today to ask you to please consider increasing your contributions to the Women In The Director’s Chair program next year, as raising operating costs at The Banff Centre have already had negative impacts on the program; for example mentor-actor, Christianne Hirt-Shaw, was unable to stay for the full duration of the two weeks due to a lack of funding. A lost opportunity for the actors, no doubt.
I’ll be posting this open-letter to my website, GlenMatthews.ca, not in an attempt to call out ACTRA, but instead to show other actors how strongly I feel about the WIDC program, and to encourage them to apply to take part in this wonderful, invaluable experience.
I hope that by next January, when other performers have a chance to come to Banff and be a part of the ensemble, the program will be better funded by ACTRA, allowing the participants to get even more out of it than I did.
Thank you for your time.
Much love to my union, and to my fellow union members who will hopefully enjoy the benefits of the Women In The Director’s Chair some day down the road.