Native theatre company receives funding from Canadian Heritage
Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company (SNTC) has received a $45,000 boost to its new Ensemble Theatre Arts Program (ETAP) from Canadian Heritage.
The federal funds flow through the Urban Multipurpose Aboriginal Youth Centres Initiative (UMAYC), intended to support young aboriginal people aged 15 to 24 living in urban settings.
SNTC, which opened in 1999, started developing ETAP last year. It is a two-year program, but also offers a third year of advanced skill development. It includes theatre arts skill development, skill application, cultural development and career management — all with an added focus on aboriginal perspectives and history.
Workshops and mentorship from arts professionals and cultural leaders are parts of the program that help young aboriginal artists develop their skills.
“It’s a nice piece of money,” said SNTC project manager Deneen Gudjonson. “The program itself costs us about $200,000 to run . . . but it is a fairly unique program, so it was good to get the money through UMAYC. Every penny helps in putting a new program like this together.”
The program, which also receives funding from National Arts Training, was operating last year, but it was in development, said Gudjonson. “This is our first official pilot year.”
ETAP accepted 11 students this year, but there are more who would like to participate and on a waiting list for next year.
“It’s really quite a unique program, a professional arts training program,” said Gudjonson. “The program shows we’re really more than just a theatre.”
It’s exciting, she added, “when you see what these youth are producing (and) they don’t have to go to Toronto to get these kinds of skills.”
ETAP provides the next step up from the Circle of Voices program, which was started in 1999.