Artistic Director Transition Update

After 10 outstanding years with the company, Artistic Director Rena Cohen announced she will be moving on from her position at the end of the 2019-2020 season. (CLICK to read public statement).

In November 2019 we launched a leadership transition process with a professional consultant. Our process began with a board review of foundational documents (strategic plan, job descriptions, leadership plan), facilitated discussion of purpose and principles, a leadership structure exercise, and a SWOT analysis. Our Transition Committee then developed Terms of Reference, followed by a Work Plan.

Progress over the next few months included:

  • Conducting a 360º Organizational Assessment incorporating:
  • Interviews with community stakeholders;
  • Interviews with other disability-arts organizations;
  • Interviews with theatre companies possessing alternate leadership structures;
  • A (national) PACT survey on alternate leadership structures.

We also drafted:

  • A Communications Plan
  • An Advertising Plan
  • A Position Profile
  • A Job Posting

At a board meeting this spring, the Transition committee further reflected on the reality of COVID-19, its impact on our community and our programming.  We will not risk in-person programming until a vaccine is available. We considered a three-year schedule of company activity under four possible scenarios, each based on a different timeline of when a vaccine will be available (or not).  We committed to shifting all programming to online platforms until at least December 2020, and noted many of these activities may be successfully managed by our Managing Director Cadence Konopaki, thereby reducing demands on an Artistic Director until early 2021 when we hope to being shifting — or at the least planning to shift — back to in-person rehearsals, performance, and training.

We therefore decided to delay an active search for a candidate to whom we would offer a position starting in 2021. Outgoing Artistic Director Rena Cohen agreed to continue serving in a reduced capacity for the next 4-6 months to facilitate a longer, slower transition, with flexibility to withdraw sooner if circumstances dictate.

Meanwhile, our Transition Committee is not being idle!  The Committee has pivoted to widening its perspective by talking to artists with disabilities across Canada about what they’d like to see happening in our sector over the next 5-10 years.

Our Board includes leadership representative of the disability experience, and we trust these important, sensitive and timely decisions will best serve our community over the long term.