Tag Archive | interview

Staff Profile – Cristina Rizzuto, Marketing Manager


How long have you worked at Soulpepper and tell us a little bit about what your job consists of lately.
I have worked at Soulpepper for just over a year. As Marketing Manager, my role consists mostly of planning fiscal advertising campaigns, monitoring the marketing and communications budget, maintaining strong relationships with tourism, industry, advertising and community partners, and working with our team to plan and execute email, digital, and print marketing campaigns. I represent Soulpepper on the Toronto Attractions Council, and on the SOTUG (Southern Ontario Tessitura User Group).

What kinds of projects are you involved in outside of work?
Outside of work, I sit on the Board of Directors at Vaughan Public Libraries, and volunteer with a number of organizations, including the University of Toronto Alumni Association and Humanity First. I am also a writer, and have been published in various literary journals, magazines, and anthologies. My first book of poetry was published in 2012, and a few short stories will be published in an upcoming anthology of Italian-Canadian writers this year.

When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
Swimming, yoga, reading, spending time with loved ones, and exploring the city by foot are a few of my favourite activities. I also enjoy cooking and seasonal culinary traditions – ie. helping my father make wine and tomato sauce in the late summer, apple-picking in the fall.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you?
Every year, I endeavour to learn something new. In 2015, I wanted to learn something beautiful – so, I took up Spanish language courses. Last year, I completed the final course in the certificate. ¡Hola! This year, I am taking a course in neurobiology.

What do you love about working at Soulpepper?
I love working with a team of passionate, intelligent people, who inspire me daily. I love staff meetings and Opening Nights. I love creepily looking around the theatre at audience members reacting to a show we’ve all worked hard on for months. I love reaching the end of a performance, because the range of emotions I feel as a result of whatever is on stage reminds me of why I do what I do.

Staff Profile: Duncan Johnstone – Head Scenic Artist

How long have you worked at the Young Centre and tell us a little bit about what your job consists of lately.
I have been working at the Young/Soulpepper 5 years and three of these as the Head of Scenic Art. Prior to being with Soulpepper I worked at the Stratford Festival for six seasons and before that in film and television.

The past four shows have varied considerably; the designs were all over the map. On the Baillie stage in Victoria Wallace’s design for The Play is the Thing Paul Boddum (scenic painter) and I started off by painting a parquet floor witch was quite involved, it was like painting three different wood grained floors in one. The show also had a lot of ornate gold trim work and a large gilded looking frame, which we made with plastic bits and bobs from the dollar store and some penne pasta, then painted it all gold. The show that repped with this was Marat/Sade designed by Lorenzo Savoini which was the polar opposite; concrete, grunge and rust. On the Young stage again two completely different designs; Happy Place had clean lines and was so eloquent, this was juxtaposed with Glen Charles Landry’s organized chaos of a car crash with rusty car parts and broken windshields witch we achieved with hot glue from a glue gun.

What artistic projects have you been involved in outside of work?
I also work outside of Soulpepper occasionally. I’ve worked on:
• George Brown Theatre School, Head Scenic Painter, 2-3 shows per season – 2013-Present
• Toronto Centre for the Arts, Head Scenic Painter – Driving Miss Daisy – 2015
• Crow’s Theatre/Canadian Stage, Head Scenic Painter – The Seagull – 2015
• nightswimming, Head Scenic Painter – Fish Eyes – 2014
• Adelheid Dance Projects, Drop Painter – Elsewhere – 2014
• Canadian Stage, Head Scenic Painter – Dream in High Park – 2013
• Opera Atelier, Drop Painter – Der Freischutz (The Marksman) – 2012
• Canadian Opera Company, Scenic Painter – Aug 2012
• The Royal Conservatory of Music, Drop Painter – Nov-Dec 2011
• Stratford Festival of Canada, Scenic Painter – 2003-2009
• Partners Film/Mood Design, Head Scenic Painter, Carpentry, Props, Set Deck – 2001-2003
• Hot Sets Film Scenic Painter – 1999-2003

I am also a visual artist and have been showing and represented by Alison Skinner at the Distill Gallery for over ten years. My web page is: http://www.duncanjohnstone.com

When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
When I’m not at work I’m usually hanging out with my partner, my dog and my two kids: Ada, my daughter, who is 14 and my son Emmett who is 12. Hiking, cycling, gardening and cooking are a big part of my life, and of course painting.

What is something we would be surprised to know about you/what is a hidden talent?
Hidden Talents………. Hm? I wish I could say something like I can burp the alphabet but I can’t. I grew up in Rossland BC and spent most of my youth ski racing downhill and X-country, mountain bike racing, X-country running and Rock Climbing. I then moved to Vancouver and attended Art School at Emily Carr University of Art & Design and planted trees in the summers to help pay my way through school.

What do you love about working at Soulpepper?
My favourite thing about working at Soulpepper is the diverse and supper talented people that are working in every department of the organization. I also really enjoy the smell of our neighbors SOMA Chocolate which somehow manages to work its way through the wall and right into the scenic shop on a regular basis

Staff Profile: Michelle Yagi – Development Coordinator


How long have you worked at Soulpepper and tell us a little bit about what your job consisted of lately.
I’ve been at Soulpepper for a little over a year now! My job as Development Coordinator consists of lots of different things including work on our annual campaign, donation processing, donor e-communications and event coordination. I also act as the recording secretary for our Board of Directors – sitting in on those conversations has really been an incredible learning opportunity. Lately, I’ve been working on revamping SoulsNotes, our donor e- newsletter, adding new curated content from Soulpepper artists. It’s been a relatively quiet summer for the department due to the programming hiatus around the PanAm/ParapanAm Games, but once September comes we’ll have our hands full again with four new Soulpepper shows opening and plenty of donor cultivation events.

What projects do you have on the go outside of work?
In addition to my role at Soulpepper, I also work as the General Manager of the Paprika Festival – a performing arts festival dedicated to the mentorship and artistic development of young theatre artists. We pair participants from all of our programs with professional artistic mentors and arts facilitators, give them the resources to develop their creative ideas over the course of six months, and provide a number of training workshops along the way. All of this culminates in an annual festival of new work in the spring, and – new this past year – a full-day conference for emerging artists. We’re currently heading into our 15th season, marking the beginning of a two-year partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts and expanded community arts engagement in Regent Park. I’m also producing a show with Re: Current Theatre, a new theatre collective currently in residence at Hub14. It keeps me busy!

When you’re not at work, what are you doing?
Well I try to see as much theatre as possible, for starters! I’m glad I got the chance to catch a bunch of the Panamania programming while it was here and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season at Summerworks. I love being a part of the theatre community in Toronto… it’s such a small world but there’s so many talented people working in this city and a lot of interesting new work out there. When I’m not dragging my friends to shows, I try to make time for reading, writing and music whenever possible.

What do you love about working at Soulpepper?
Soulpepper is a pretty special place. The company’s success stories are easy to understand when you meet the incredible staff and artists who work here, and it’s such a supportive environment. There are also a lot of very exciting, very ambitious plans for the future floating around this building, and I’m looking forward to seeing them come to life!