Judith Koltai with Acting students.
© Maxime Côté
The Transfer of Power
Keeping the Passion Alive
More often than not, the expression “transfer of power” is used in political or business jargon; we hear it applied when governments change hands, but rarely do we talk about this phenomenon in the context of cultural institutions. Yet, demographics do not lie: the population
is getting older and baby-boomers have already begun to retire from the scene. Some young artists are impatiently waiting in the wings to journey forth into the brilliant professional horizons that have been promised to them for some time. Leaders are preparing their exit, taking with them
a wealth of knowledge of which future generations will be deprived. The team at nts magazine has decided to look into this issue in order to find a harmonious and enlightened way of ensuring that passions are kept alive in the cultural sector.
Given that emerging artists must learn how to take their place in order to survive and ensure their future – while the challenge for experienced artists is to know how to maintain it – is it not all the more crucial that they know where they came from so that they can appreciate
the contribution of their elders. They can thus leave their own imprint by avoiding the pitfalls of conformity, by bearing in mind the achievements of past generations, and by fully affirming their will to break or perpetuate certain traditions or approaches? Almost by definition, young
artists and cultural workers challenge institutions, whose privileges they may envy or loathe, and to which, quite often, they do not have access. But what if it became the duty of those same theatre spaces to welcome young resident companies, playwrights, and directors? By giving them
access to invaluable physical, intellectual, and human resources, maybe we could more easily build bridges between the detractors of these institutions and those who direct them.
The transfer of power is a real social challenge. Can we navigate this transition smoothly and wipe out all traces
of ageism and infantilization? Mentoring experiences can only help this shift. However, there needs to be a certain amount of humility on the part of those who will play the role of apprentices and generosity from those who will act as their masters. The beauty of these intergenerational
relationships is that it is impossible to predict who will learn from whom...
People from all sectors are currently sounding the alarm and calling for a pact of solidarity between generations. Regardless of our mounting debts, environmental and collective health concerns, and the huge fiscal
burdens that an increasingly limited number of workers will soon have to bear, let us take the time, within this debate, to pay particular attention to communication between individuals. In theatre, cast members all work on the same piece. Some have vast experience while others are barely
out of their training programs. By rehearsing together in an atmosphere of confidence and commitment, they will get to know each other, listen to each other, and play their part.
The nts magazine team
Andrée McNamara Tait
National Theatre School of Canada
5030, rue Saint-Denis
Montreal (Québec) H2J 2L8
Phone. : 514.842.7954
Toll free: 1.866.547.7328
Fax : 514.842.5661
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