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Canadian Mentorship Program Launched to Support New Generation of Lighting Designers

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Canadian Mentorship Program Launched to Support New Generation of Lighting Designers

Design Incubator and The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) today announced the launch of a unique and innovative lighting design mentorship program - the first of its kind in Canada. The Design Incubator Pilot Project will provide hands-on training and mentorship at top Canadian theatre companies for emerging lighting designers and recent graduates as they prepare for a successful career in the performing arts.

Design Incubator is a leading-edge training program based in Toronto founded by lighting designer Lesley Wilkinson, one of Canada's first female lighting designers. Its mandate is to provide opportunities to bridge the academic and theatre worlds for young lighting designers and offer valuable experience for mentees. A pilot project this year, the expectation is that this program will become permanent and provide ongoing annual mentorships to emerging lighting designers.

TAPA provides key administrative support for the recruitment and selection of candidates for the program.

The inaugural candidate, selected by an esteemed industry jury, is Nathan Bruce, a Toronto-based 2020 graduate of York University (BFA, Theatre Production & Design).

Three TAPA-member theatre companies will host the training, including Soulpepper Theatre Company, Young People's Theatre and Studio 180 Theatre. As the inaugural candidate, Nathan Bruce will benefit from involvement as an assistant lighting designer in three different productions with the companies.

"This is an important initiative to provide trainees with experience and exposure to professional theatre productions and to gain professionally and personally from the insight and experience of the full range of theatre production," saidJacoba Knaapen, TAPA Executive Director.

Design Incubator founder and lighting designer Lesley Wilkinson said, "Mentorship is a key ingredient in ensuring that lighting design continues to develop and thrive among a new generation of theatre professionals. It complements creative and academic training that is critical in preparing for the future of theatre in this country."

The selection jury was made up of Pat Bradley, Jury Chairperson (Theatre Officer, Compass and Major Organizations Officer, Ontario Arts Council (Retired December 2019), Jim Brett (former Production Electrician), Kevin Lamotte, (Director of Lighting Design, Shaw Festival, freelance lighting designer), Jennifer Lennon (freelance lighting designer), Jareth Li (freelance lighting designer) and Andrea Lundy (Director, Production Design & Technical Arts Program, National Theatre School, freelance lighting designer).

"We were delighted with the quality of candidates for this important mentorship program. All of them demonstrated the passion, drive and motivation that is so important to the work of a lighting designer. The successful candidate, Nathan Bruce, gave jurors the confidence that he would be able to make the most of the opportunity offered by the program, and become the lighting designer he aspires to be," said Pat Bradley, Jury Chairperson.

Design Incubator looks forward to helping to build on Toronto's strong reputation for professional theatre by cultivating talent in all aspects of lighting design. For more information, please refer to this link to the TAPA website:

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