Arts Facilitation

Facilitator, Proto-Type Theater Annual Retreat – 2010

Due to changing personal and professional roles, the four members of this small company found themselves in need of a new management structure and strategic plan. I worked with the company to design a one-day retreat that provided opportunities to 1) reflect upon past successes and personal motivations, 2) discuss group dynamics and how they are affected by personal or professional obstacles, and 3) create a new strategic plan. During the day we explored concrete achievements and goals as well as using metaphors to discuss more complex issues around work-life balance and interpersonal dynamics. In the process we used many, many sticky notes to record and organize our thoughts and plans.

Deliverables:

  1. Detailed meeting minutes that included lists of the company’s top achievements and prioritized goals from their five year plan.
  2. Document outlining the new management structure that was devised and agreed upon during the retreat, including the identification of major projects and supporting activities, as well as personnel with primary and supporting responsibilities for their execution.

Feedback:

“At a time when our company was in real need of a considered, objective assessment of our working methods and strategies, Allison’s facilitation of our company retreat was an invaluable experience. In contrast to many facilitators, who seem to come armed with a one-size-fits-all approach, Allison came with knowledge about us, and our structures. In that regard, we felt like she understood where we were succeeding, where we could improve, and shared a language with us for our vision of what we could achieve in the future. That shared platform meant that the time we spent together was productive, focused, and open. Allison’s approaches are generous, thoughtful, and perhaps most importantly, get results.”
(Dr. Andrew Westerside, Co-Artistic Director: Proto-type Theater)

“I think it is important to mention Allison’s use of metaphor in helping us address our company concerns. This was a unique approach for us as a company. Leading by example, Allison encouraged us to consider our subjects of discussion in an innovative and creative manner through metaphor. This allowed us the freedom to be honest with one another regarding issues which might otherwise have created tension. In doing so we were engaged in the task collectively, moving forward with a lighthearted but honest approach; one which was rooted in truth and determination.”
(Gillian Lees, Co-Artistic Director: Proto-type Theater)

Musical Direction, Vocal Coaching, and Accompanying

I worked for over ten years as a professional musician, playing piano for singers, choirs, and musical theatre productions. While this work is seldom discussed in terms of ‘facilitation’, I believe it is the ability to become an outstanding facilitator and translator that separates amateur accompanists and coaches from truly outstanding professional ones. As a musical director, it was my responsibility to outline a collective goal for professional musical theatre productions, and then to work with a talented team of actors, directors, stage managers, designers and technicians to revise, adapt and then execute this goal. At times, this required translating musical requirements into non-musical terminology so that the goals of acting, technology and music could align. Facilitating communication was also a crucial activity, and by developing an understanding of acting and design goals, as well as musical ones, I was able to anticipate and preempt miscommunications between team members. As a musical coach, I also facilitated personal learning trajectories, providing support and feedback that fed both personal growth and collective aims.

Major achievements:

Musical direction for productions of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Secret Garden’ at The Globe Theatre, Regina, Canada

ARCT Performance Degree (Piano), Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Canada

Competitor as part of the Duke Piano Trio, Canadian National Music Festival, Lloydminster, Canada

Featured performer, Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saens, Regina Symphony Orchestra Chamber Concert, Regina, Canada

Fundraising concerts and recordings in support of the Regina Anti-Poverty Mission, Regina Food Bank, MacKenzie Art Gallery, United Church Healing Fund, Opera Nuova, Lancaster and District Homeless Action Service, Advantage Africa