PEI

To teach or not to teach: Never a question for Watermark Theatre

The Watermark Theatre in North Rustico, P.E.I., is continuing to work with young people interested in theatre through its mentorship and acting conservatory programs this summer.

The theatre's mentorship program is entering its 2nd year

The Watermark Theatre in North Rustico is continuing the programs that pass on knowledge and give first-hand experience in the theatre industry. (CBC)

The Watermark Theatre in North Rustico, P.E.I., is continuing to work with young people interested in theatre through its mentorship and acting conservatory programs this summer.

The mentorship program runs all summer and gives recent graduates of theatre school a chance to work behind the scenes under the guidance of industry professionals.

The theatre's conservatory program offers kids 12 to 18 the opportunity to learn different aspects of acting, from scene study to stage combat. (Submitted by the Watermark Theatre)

The acting conservatory gives kids between the age of 12 and 18 a chance to hone their skills through classes focused on improvisation techniques, scene study, monologues and stage combat.

The mentorship program started last summer with five interns and will have six students this year, and the acting conservatory will have 10 young actors.

'An energy'

Robert Tsonos, artistic director at the theatre, said that the interns coming in with the mentorship program bring "an energy in the building that's fantastic."

"They're so eager and so excited to be there and they're just stepping into their work lives and I think that's the biggest thing we get."

Robert Tsonos, the artistic director of the Watermark Theatre, said that teaching young people about a career in theatre reminds him why he got into the business in the first place. (Angela Walker/CBC)

The interns are all recent graduates of theatre programs and have specialized in different aspects of back stage theatre work like stage management, and costume or set design.

Tsonos said that the theatre was having trouble filling positions for work behind the curtain with people from the Island, which was one of the reasons they started the mentorship program.

The Watermark Theatre took on five interns last summer and are taking on six this year. (Submitted by the Watermark Theatre)

"Our goal is to train enough here so that we can start hiring locals," he said.

'Still get goose bumps'

Tsonos said that the company enjoys passing knowledge on through both programs, as it offers a change of pace from the preparations for the two shows they put on in the summer.

He also said that it brings them back to their decision to enter the theatre industry.

The company at the Watermark Theatre put on two shows every summer with half the staff made up of interns. (Watermark Theatre)

"It reminds all of us why we got into this business in the first place and really it's the love of theatre," he said.

"You know I've been in the business for 25 years now, and when the lights dim in a theatre I still get goose bumps." 

With files from CBC: Mainstreet

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