Thank you to the many members, old and new, who joined us on October 3rd for our third AGM, held this year in Saskatoon. We are very excited at the decisions and announcements that were made that day and are over the moon to finally share them publicly with you!
First, the big one: We have received $50,000 in operational funding from Creative Saskatchewan!
This is the news that we have been working on for the past two years! Now that we have received operational funding from Creative Saskatchewan, we will be able to hire an Executive Director and provide our membership with much more support than we were able to as volunteers. We are so grateful to Creative Saskatchewan for valuing us as a core sector in the arts and the continued success of our organization would not be possible without this partnership! Thank you to The Honourable Ken Cheveldayoff, Minister of Parks and Culture, for joining us for the announcement on a spur of the moment invitation. Thank you also to Greg Magirescu and Erin Dean, CEO and Program Manager, respectively, of Creative Saskatchewan. It was such an honour for all of us to share in the surprise and delight of your announcement, members and board members alike, and you have given us the opportunity to work in the long term. We are very grateful to you all!
Second, we have some board changes to announce: Board members Mark Claxton, Kenn McLeod, Carla Orosz, Joey Tremblay, and Judy Wensel resigned from the board between our 2015 AGM in Regina and our 2016 AGM in Saskatoon. At the AGM, board members Alan Long, Cynthia Dyck, and Denis Rouleau also tendered their resignations. All of these people were committed to the improvement of the theatrical arts and conditions for artists in Saskatchewan, and without their dedication and hard work we would not be in the happy position that we are now. Time was taken at the AGM to ensure that the membership was able to offer their sincere thanks to these outstanding practitioners and to wish them well in their continued theatrical works!
We are very happy that we have returning board members Dawn Bergstrom and Evie Koop Sawatzky to see the organization grow into the next phase. At the AGM three new board members were also elected: Skye Brandon, Ed Mendez, and Grahame Kent. The membership noted that a more balanced board is needed to reflect the membership it serves, and the board will be organizing to seek more members from Regina, more women, and more Indigenous people to make the board more reflective of our artistic community.
Third, a motion was put forward and approved that the Saskatchewan Association of Theatre Professionals organize a committee to formally investigate what methods of agreement work best for Saskatchewan theatre artists. This will include investigating the Canadian Actors' Equity Association and Professional Association of Canadian Theatres, as well as determining what Saskatchewan artists need as support for their projects, as well as examining existing models outside of the two major agreements under which Saskatchewan theatre professionals currently operate. This will be a committee to gather information and not a committee to make decisions on behalf of all theatre companies. This information will be used to serve the membership and highlight the aspects of being a theatre practitioner in Saskatchewan that make us a unique place to work in the arts.
Thank you all so much for keeping with us as we worked hard to get launched. We are grateful to our membership for being so supportive and for believing in us from the beginning! We truly would not be here without you. From across the province we feel your appreciation and commitment to your practices, and we want you to know that wherever you are in the vast prairies (or valleys!) of Saskatchewan, we are here to help. Now we finally have the means!
The Saskatchewan Association of Theatre Professionals