In a media release, Neptune Theatre announced its partnership with Toronto’s Prime Mover Theatre Company in the appointment of theatre artist Patricia Cerra as the first artistic director intern under the newly reimagined 2020-21 RBC Chrysalis Project dedicated to the professional development and advancement of Indigenous, Black and People of Color (IBPOC) arts leaders.
“As an IBPOC artist, I’m committed to passionate leadership that engages in the inclusivity of diverse voices; building these bridges will be invaluable for our communities and our industry,” says Cerra in the media release.
Engaging in important conversations and meaningful collaborations will allow us to take steps forward together. As uncertain as the future feels right now, a shift has happened. Seeds have begun to be planted, and I have great hope that something beautiful will emerge. – Patricia Cerra
Over the last three years, The Chrysalis Project has provided emerging theatre artists, in multiple disciplines, with hands-on learning and mentoring. With the industry’s current shutdown, Neptune and Prime Mover saw an opportunity to reformat the RBC Chrysalis Project to address one of the most important issues facing Canadian theatre.
“The refrains of ‘there aren’t enough qualified candidates of colour and representation begin at the board and leadership level’ have been heard so many times that they have become damaging tropes, the status quo, and an excuse for the theatrical community to avoid taking decisive action to make change,” says Ray Hogg, founding artistic director of Prime Mover Theatre Company and deputy artistic director of Musical Stage Company.
An award-winning multidisciplinary artist, Cerra currently works as a director, performer and educator. Involved in over thirty productions with theatres around the country, she was recently recognized with a Sterling Award, Edmonton’s equivalent of Nova Scotia’s professional theatre Merritt Awards, for her role in the Shadow Theatre production of Happy Birthday Baby J.
Cerra completed her training at the Citadel/Banff Professional Theatre Program and is a graduate of the University of Alberta BFA Acting program with distinction. She will debut her short play as a part of Edmonton’s Sprouts Festival in 2021.
From Alberta, Cerra will relocate to Halifax and officially starts in the new role of artistic director intern this month. Over the next ten months, she will work closely with both companies’ artistic and administrative staff, developing the 2021-2022 season and redraft policies, develop programming, and advance community stewardship while building her credentials and artistic resume.
“Working with Patricia and Ray is a positive step towards building capacity in the Canadian theatre landscape for IBPOC artists,” says Neptune Theatre artistic director Jeremy Webb in the release. It is opportunities such as the RBC Chrysalis Project that will help nurture the next generation of artistic leaders.”