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Off To A Running Start

on Thursday, 7 October 2021.

A Post by Confluence Artist, Berend McKenzie

CONFLUENCE!!!!

Holy crap! A month goes by so quickly! Here are a few musings on what has transpired so far during my ten-month fellowship.

The Catalyst team and I hit the ground running with a socially distant meet and greet. It was so lovely to see everyone on staff in person as we enjoyed some refreshments and lightly planned out the year ahead.

Jonathan and I have met once a week since the beginning of September. I have asked him to be my mentor as I write my first play with music, IN THE CENTRE. He told me to get bent, and I ran home crying.

KIDDING!

He graciously accepted the challenge (you may say a prayer for him now).

When I applied to this fellowship, I wasn’t fully aware of what I could ask the theatre for help with regarding my project. As a POC artist, I have never been invited into a theatre on this level before. In my experience, many organizations and people say they want to help then complain about it when I ask for assistance.

This behaviour has left me gunshy to ask for what I need for fear of appearing like a nuisance.

I’ve come to learn that when Catalyst Theatre asked potential Confluence applicants to dream big and state what they required help with, they meant every word. Now I wish I had been less self-conscious and more specific when answering this question in my application.

This fellowship is about setting up the BIPOC fellow so that we can be successful when we leave. Everything they know about running a theatre company: grant writing, administration skills, and playwriting are all on offer for assistance and guidance.

After roping Jonathan into being my mentor, and discussing what I hope to achieve by the end of this fellowship, the Catalyst team and I got to work.

With the theatre’s help, I am currently writing two grants to fund a four-week workshop near the end of my term (a note to future applicants: if you know that you will apply for this program next year and know what you would like to accomplish, do yourself a favour and start grant writing in the summer so that most of the work is done once the fellowship has begun. I left it too long and have been scrambling since the beginning of September to get something in. LIVE AND LEARN!)

When I applied, I knew that I wanted to find a way to give back a little, so Jonathan and I have some plans in the works.

As for how I’m feeling, I am currently in the Warner Media X Global Access Academy’s Writer program, so I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. But, things will settle, and I look forward to keeping you posted monthly.

If you have any questions regarding the fellowship, how to apply or anything regarding my experience, please contact me, berendmckenzie@gmail.com.

Be well!

Berend

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