New initiative lets Arts Club talent continue to create

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A new initiative from the Arts Club Theatre Company is providing jobs for artists who are out of work due to COVID-19.

The company has created 20 temporary full-time positions for what it’s calling Education and Community Outreach Specialists (ECOS). Filling the positions, which are made possible by the federal government’s emergency wage subsidy program, the Bill Millerd Artist Fund, and private donations, are artists and actors, many of whom were part of cancelled Arts Club shows. They are now tasked with creating digital content, hosting educational workshops online, and connecting with patrons and donors.

We talked to Arts Club artistic director Ashlie Corcoran about the initiative.

Q: You’ve been doing a lot of Zoom calls in your role as AD for the Arts Club. What have you learned about online conferencing?

A: If there’s a large group of people, I tell them they can turn off their camera if they need to, or get up and use the washroom or stretch. Giving people permission to do that is important. With smaller groups of people, I’ll say “Let’s keep this meeting less than 30 minutes, and we’re not going to multi-task, and that we’re really going to listen to each other and get off our screens.” With my artistic team, we’ve been listening to a Brené Brown book about leadership, Dare to Lead. So besides our tactical conversations, we’ve been having a little bit of a book club. That’s been great. She (Brown) gives you a lot of tools to use as a team. We’ve been trying to incorporate those tools to keep our meetings meaningful and communication open.

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