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Suzie Martin has been the Artistic Director of Theatre Projects Manitoba since April 1, 2022. She is a Director and sometimes Dramaturg, who is admittedly obsessed with the mechanics of storytelling. Working in theatres and non-traditional spaces to re-interpret classics, stage classics, develop new scripts, and facilitate collaborative devising processes is what drives her. Suzie has been directing and producing her own work and working in Theatre Administration and arts leadership since 2009.

Suzie was nominated for a Sterling Award for Outstanding Direction of a Fringe play in 2018 and holds a teaching award from the University of Alberta. Before returning to Winnipeg in 2020 (after 6 years mostly based in amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton) She was the Associate Season Director of Edmonton Fringe Theatre. She was recently part of the inaugural Dramaturgy Lab cohort at the Citadel Theatre and is an ongoing participant in the Future Prairie Theatre Research project.

With such a passion fueled background for theatre, Suzie is a perfect fit for Theatre Projects Manitoba, a company whose goal is to develop, produce, and present theatre projects that stimulate imagination and empathy, creatively inspire communities, and provide challenging opportunities for the growth of artists and audiences of this region. Theatre Projects Manitoba was founded by Harry Rintoul in 1990 as an artist-driven organization and a theatre-at-large, using a variety of venues for performance locations. Committed to the cultivation of Canadian Theatre, in the past 30 years TPM has staged more than 50 new Manitoban works.

Suzie credits the excellent teachers and mentors she studied with during her MFA in Directing from the University of Alberta and her BA-Honours in Acting from the University of Winnipeg and well as training with John Tuner and Laura Bond (through Company Link) Not to mention the extensive list of esteemed Directors she has had the opportunity to assist, who’ve generously shared their expertise and supported her development as an artist.

“I really feel like all my professional and creative experiences have been cumulative and seminal in getting me to this point in my career.  Each time I assistant directed a show, the ongoing creative conversations with unofficial mentors (like former professors and teachers), colleagues, and people whose work I admire and seeing theatre from other parts of the world has been essential in opening my mind to what is possible in theatrical expression and inspiring me to try new things in my own practice.”

Theatre Projects Manitoba has been a member of Creative Manitoba since before it was Creative Manitoba. The first Mentorship they hosted was back when our organization was called was called Arts and Culture Industries Association – ACI, taking us back to 2012! Both Current General Manager Rea Kavanagh and former Artistic director (Ardith Bozall) have mentored youth participating through Creative Manitoba –hosting 6 formal mentorships through Creative Manitoba’s Youth Mentorship program.

We have had opportunities to work with several whipsmart youth – we always find we learn and are nourished through the mentorship experience. It also provides a focal point for networking and creative collaborations. Most recently we have engaged with a youth being mentored by another theatre artist, plugging into their dynamic and expanding that youth’s experience with professional theatre as a result.

We have also sent our employees to relevant workshops. Most recently that was an Image Description workshop for our communications assistant.

As a company with a small office footprint, we rent the classrooms and board room from Creative Manitoba and make use of shared spaces as much as possible. Otherwise, we love being neighbors, as tenants within the building. That type of casual day to day networking can never be underestimated.”

“TPM seeks to develop and uplift Manitoban artists and give them a professional platform for their creative work. Creative Manitoba’s mentorship, career support, and skills development programs offer important support for the artists we champion and contribute to the overall health and sustainability of our theatre community. I’m a huge believer in the value of mentorship for both mentors and mentees—I have benefited greatly in both roles and find good mentorship to be a truly reciprocal experience of knowledge sharing across artistic generations. I think we all benefit from a professional culture of continued curiosity and creative growth.”

Suzie’s goal as artistic leader for Theatre Projects Manitoba is to champion artists and cultivate conditions for the creation and sharing of outstanding art from/ for/ by and to the many diverse and intersecting peoples of this region. This season they will be working with all their stakeholders to build a strategic plan for what exactly that looks like in the next cycle of work at TPM.

We asked Suzie if she could tell us what aspect of her work brings her joy. “I love being able to create opportunities for artists to do their thing!  It’s very exciting to bring people together on projects who I think might have something cool to offer each other and the larger community.  I love jamming on creative puzzles with people who are as curious and passionate about them as I am, and running a theatre company offers lots of opportunities for that!” We have no doubt that Suzie will lead Theatre Projects Manitoba into their 32nd year with passion, creativity, and inspired generosity.

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