Digital Driftwood: A 2021 Pandemic Update

Oh, we so want to be sharing live theatre with communities across Ontario this summer! But it is not to be. 

 
In response to the ongoing Covid pandemic and after careful consideration, Driftwood Theatre has made the very difficult decision to refrain from producing the Bard’s Bus Tour for a second season. 
 
Though we are disappointed by this news, we feel that it is in the best interest of the safety and well-being of our company members and audience to delay until we are able to gather again in the way we’d like: face to face, eye to eye, shoulder to shoulder. 
 
But that doesn’t mean we’re resting idle! In many ways, Driftwood is busier than ever as we ramp up for a digital shift to bridge the gap. We have three very exciting projects lined up for the summer of 2021 and hope you’ll join us from home (and on the road, when it’s safe to do so) as we embark on new adventures. 
 
Read on for a quick preview of Driftwood Digital 2021 and be sure to visit back here again or follow us on social media to stay up-to-date on all the Driftwood news. 
 

The Motorcycle Monologues

Join Artistic Director Jeremy Smith as he sets out on a solo quest across Ontario to rediscover and reconnect with places and people we’ve been separated from during the Covid pandemic.
 
The Motorcycle Monologues will be an entirely unique and innovative experience fusing together three seemingly disparate elements: motorcycling, Shakespeare and documentary storytelling.
 
The Motorcycle Monologues, an 8-part video web series, will air in the summer of 2021.
 

Beyond The Bard Digital Short Play Festival

A week after Driftwood held its annual 24-hour play-creation festival, Trafalgar 24, on March 8 2020, the world came to an abrupt stop. The Covid pandemic has held us in its grip ever since.
 
For months we’ve been working with five playwrights to develop the short plays they originally wrote at Trafalgar 24, intending to present their work as opening-act performances for the Bard’s Bus Tour. 
 
The Beyond the Bard Digital Short Play Festival will instead air these stories online as short films in late summer 2021. 
 

Pop-Up Play Workshops

This summer, tell your story.
 
Driftwood artist Deivan Steele is back for another summer of in (socially-distanced) person and online workshops focusing on play and storytelling.
 
Pop-Up Play Workshops will encourage participants to explore the theatrical storytelling through fun and safe play. 
 
Pop-Up Play Workshops will be offered both digitally and in select Toronto and GTA parks during the month of August.

Job Posting: Development and Communications Manager

Background

Driftwood Theatre is driven by a vision of theatre for everyone in Ontario. For over 25 years we have been sharing our annual Bard’s Bus Tour of outdoor summer theatre with communities across the province. Though the plays of William Shakespeare have been central to our work, we are increasingly committed to nurturing, developing and sharing new work by geographically, economically and culturally diverse Ontario-based artists who are interested in exploring the dialogue between the urban and rural communities in our great province. 

During this moment of pause, Driftwood Theatre is taking the opportunity to reimagine and reinvigorate its commitment to theatre for everyone and is taking steps to ensure long-term growth and stability.

We’re looking for a Development and Communications Manager to work with us to build a foundation for Driftwood’s future success as we look beyond the current pandemic.

Driftwood Theatre is committed to reflecting Canada’s rich diversity in all aspects of our work We encourage and welcome applicants from all backgrounds and will prioritize applicants who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Colour, Women, Gender minorities, 2SLGBTQ+, d/Deaf, Disabled/People with Disabilities, and/or Neurodiverse.

Development and Communications Manager – Position Summary

Reporting to the Artistic Director, the Development and Communications Manager manages the daily activities of the Theatre’s development and communications projects, building connections with our many supporters while promoting the theatre’s vision and work to the public.

Development

  • Evaluate and audit the Theatre’s donor and funder database, fundraising activities and events
  • Research, identify and build relationships with foundations, sponsors and funding organizations; engage with program officers, effectively and persuasively present Driftwood’s case for support; build and submit applications, proposals, supporting documents and reports in collaboration with the Artistic Director
  • Create and execute a strategy for growing base of annual individual donors; manage and execute annual giving campaign
  • Steward and manage all donor, sponsor and partner relationships and benefits
  • Create and execute a fundraising event strategy for the Theatre

Communication

  • Create strategic content for a range of audiences with a goal of broadening the Theatre’s reach and establishing our voice through a variety of platforms
    • Printed materials: brochures, appeals, newsletters
    • Digital presence: social media platforms, emails, website
  • Track and analyze engagement metrics to meet targeted goals and refine messaging for increased effectiveness
  • Initiate new marketing endeavours that elevate the presence, mission and accomplishments of the Theatre
  • Identify key audiences for the Theatre and design targeted communications to reach these segments
  • Supervise and manage seasonal Development and Communications staff

 Governance

  • Prepares and submits reports for all Board meetings
  • Attends all Board meetings
  • Work with the board and its committees to support the theatre’s activities

Knowledge and Skills Required

  • Detail oriented, self-motivated and comfortable working in a small, collaborative team environment
  • Experience in and understanding of non-profit performing arts organizations
  • Comfortable picking up the phone or meeting face-to-face (or electronically, until it is safe) to pitch our organization with passion and credibility
  • Excellent public speaker: able to compellingly communicate passion about the organization to a variety of audiences
  • Strong writing and editing skills: ability to communicate clearly, persuasively and effectively
  • Excellent organization and time management skills
  • Proficiency in all MS Office and Google Suite Applications
  • Design skills and facility with Adobe Photoshop, inDesign, WordPress an asset
  • Facility with Customer Relations Management CRM) applications and online e-marketing tools an asset; the ability to learn new computer programs.
  • CFRE (certified fundraising executive) designation an asset

Salary/Job Details

  • This is a full-time (30hrs/wk), contract position with some flexibility in the schedule
  • Salary range: $35,000 – $40,000 + 4% vacation for the duration of the contract (12 months)
  • All Driftwood staff work from home, participating in regular meetings online and/or in-person (when it is safe to do so)
  • Driftwood is committed to a five-day work week, however this position may require evening and weekend work, and occasional travel. Time off in lieu of payment will be given for overtime.

To Apply

Please send, as a single PDF file, a letter of interest, resume and three references by email to Artistic Director, Jeremy Smith at jsmith(at)driftwoodtheatre(dot)com.

Application Deadline

May 26, 2021

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Update

It has been five months since we posted our first statement in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and our commitment to becoming an actively anti-racist theatre company. During that time, we’ve been looking into what our future as a company looks like – both in response to the pandemic, and in response to the important calls for change in the theatre industry. As we continue to listen deeply and learn from our BIPOC* peers, leaders and partners we are concurrently taking steps to grow and develop a more inclusive environment of mutual respect and support within our organization.

To begin our process of learning and education, all Driftwood staff and board members have completed Human Rights 101 and Call It Out online modules through the Ontario Human Rights Commission to better understand our responsibilities and privileges with respect to the Human Rights Code and how to recognize and become active partners in calling out racism in our communities.

During the summer months, Driftwood was using social media to regularly share links to anti-racist resources and BIPOC art/artists. This kind of sharing and outreach will continue to be a part of our social media presence going forward.

We believe that the composition of Canadian theatre should reflect the composition of the world at large, and as such we are committing to achieving a minimum of 50% BIPOC representation and 50% female and non-binary people in positions across our organization (board, permanent and contract staff) within the next two years. To achieve this, we will not only be prioritizing BIPOC candidates, but we will actively seek out BIPOC candidates for all future postings by reaching out to BIPOC community organizations and hiring programs.

We have updated the wording of our job postings, specifically prioritizing BIPOC candidates and using language that is free of unconscious bias, such as “years of experience” or specific education requirements. 

We believe that transparency is integral to building trust and confidence in an inclusive and respectful environment and as such we will be making Driftwood’s full budget and all salaries public with our next, and all subsequent, annual reports (January). This report will be shared with all donors and will be available on our website.

We will also find affordable ways to ensure that all our company members have the appropriate knowledge and training to be a part of a safe, anti-racist workplace. We recognize that while Driftwood’s limited fiscal resources may limit the scope of our work to some extent, it does not excuse us from doing the necessary work to bring about change. As of our 2021 summer season, we are committed to:

  • Finding a way for all contracted, seasonal company members to have anti-racism training of some kind.
  • Developing anti-racism statements that will be read at the start of all meetings and rehearsals alongside land acknowledgements and anti-harassment statements.
  • Updating our company handbooks to include our explicit commitment to anti-racism, as well as including resources for learning more about anti-racism, anti-ableism, and other forms of harassment and exclusion. We will also be including specific best practices and suggestions for bystander intervention and dealing with conflict wherever it may arise onsite in our over 25 touring communities in Ontario.
  • Making a permanent commitment to maintaining a five-day work-week and to shortening and restructuring rehearsal days. We will also restructure technical rehearsal days to divert from the traditional 10/12 model and minimize the required hours for as many company members as possible.
  •  Building in time at the beginning of the contracted production/rehearsal period to work toward creating an environment where everyone feels empowered to express themselves and talk about their concerns. We recognize that one of the insidious parts of systemic and institutional racism is a pervasive fear that criticism will result in negative backlash or the loss of employment, and so one of our long-term goals is to do everything we can do to prevent this in our own company. Time will also be built in each week for company check-ins, explicitly designated for company members to express any concerns or criticisms they may have about their experience and how we might resolve any problems that have arisen.
  • Expanding our current annual anonymous post-mortem comment form to be accessible to all company members throughout their entire contracts. The form will be regularly monitored and all submissions will be discussed weekly during check-in meetings. 

Once we have conducted this initial work and undertaken a full process of self-evaluation, we will hire a team of no fewer than two Black and/or Indigenous people to act as an anti-racism working group. This working group will be paid to assess and critique (and alter where applicable) our current and planned commitments, as well as to lead us in taking other anti-racist actions across all facets of the company. This working group will be composed of people who have not previously worked for Driftwood and who do not plan to work for us in other capacities in the future. This is to ensure that they are able to critique us freely and without any fear that doing so might jeopardize their future job prospects. This working group will be hired by our 2021/2022 season.

Looking further out, our long-term goals include: the evaluation, investigation and change of our current artistic model by considering de-centralized structures; undertaking projects to cultivate meaningful, long-term relationships with BIPOC artists and communities across Ontario; working toward fully diversifying our audience to ensure an audience that is diverse in race, age, and ability, with explicit priority being placed on BIPOC audience members. 

And finally, we are committed to learning how to do better by listening to and accepting criticism and taking responsibility for our actions. If you would like to engage in further discussion or provide any feedback, please reach out directly to Jeremy (jsmith[at]driftwoodtheatre[dot]com) or the board (boardofdirectors[at]driftwoodtheatre[dot]com). 

 

Jeremy Smith, Artistic Director

Shirley Freek, Board President

 

*BIPOC; Black, Indigenous and People of Colour

Ontario Storybook Winner

Congratulations to Elyssia Giancola from Brampton, our Ontario Storybook winner!

Elyssia has chosen to use their $100 gift certificate at Michael’s Back Door Restaurant in Mississauga. 

Read Elyssia’s inspiring submission using the prompt, “Tell us the story of your best friend”:

I met my best friend on the first day of high school in fourth period English, my last class of the day. I was sitting in the centre of the front row when someone came in and asked if they could sit next to me. I said yes. She sat down and we started chatting, comparing schedules and the like. We discovered that we’d already been in two classes together that day and hadn’t realized. 

The next morning was a difficult one for me. I didn’t know it at the time, but this would be the first of many days I experienced crippling anxiety in high school. That morning, I stood outside my first period class – phys ed, as if things weren’t already bad enough! – and could not stop crying. I wanted to run, I wanted to hide, I wanted to be anywhere but school. I didn’t know what to do. And then, the girl from English class arrived. She put a hand on my arm and told me it was going to be okay, in a way that wasn’t condescending or pitying but truly, genuinely kind. She walked me into class that day, and she would walk me through countless other days in the years to come.

My best friend has the most beautiful heart of anyone I have ever met. When I talk, she listens with curiosity and compassion. There is not a judgmental bone in her body. When I am lost, she somehow always knows what to say to set me back on the right course. She makes me want to be the best version of myself because that is the version of me that she sees. 

In the years since high school, we’ve never lived in the same city at the same time, so we see each other rarely. Indeed, because life gets busy, there have been years where we’ve hardly even spoken, aside from a quick check-in here and there. Nonetheless, there is no one I feel more comfortable with, no one I trust more. And because of the amount of time we spend apart, we have a little tradition. When we do get the chance to see each other, she writes dozens of notes and hides them around my room. Some are drawings, some are inside jokes, some are affirmations. I find some of them easily, but others surprise me weeks, months, or even years down the road. In fact, some are still hidden somewhere, waiting to be found. They always bring a smile to my face and a warm feeling to my heart, just as my best friend always has. 

And that’s the story of my best friend!


Thanks to our Restaurant Partners

We want to send out a huge thank you to all of our restaurant partners across Ontario for being a part of our Storybook this summer. The contest may be over, but you can still support your local diner or pub by getting a delicious meal for dine in or take out! Read the stories of all of our restaurant partners and decide where you want to eat next here.