There are some great arts incubators for youth in the Regent Park neighbourhood of Toronto. One of these, The Journey Studio, focuses on nurturing participants’ talent in the performing arts by teaming them up with headliners of the musical The Journey, a show that took place over the summer of 2016 at Daniels Spectrum. The show, The Journey, a story that focuses on three young people living in the Regent Park neighbourhood, is expected to return this year and bring The Journey Studio back with it.
I recently chatted with Nidhi Khanna who is the Managing Director at Daniels Spectrum in Toronto about the program.
Why is it called The Journey Studio?
The Journey Studio grew out of the success of The Journey, a spirited musical based on the story of the Regent Park revitalization project that has engaged many young artists from the area in the many years it has been in production. The Journey Studio workshop started in 2016 as a way to give even more young artists the opportunity to work with the senior artists involved in this show and to tell their own stories around this central theme. The Journey Studio was offered as a two-week program during the rehearsal phase of the show. Participants co-created an original mini musical through script writing, choreography and musical composition.
Does Daniels Spectrum host any other arts incubator programs?
Daniels Spectrum also hosts and runs the annual Ada Slaight Youth Arts Mentorship Program, a five- month program focused on youth arts mentorship and building participants’ artistic craft while learning from special guest speakers and working with established artists as mentors.
Do people who try out for the incubator have a lot of experience in the fields? What is the normal level of experience for participants?
The Journey Studio is geared towards emerging artists and helping them grow their craft through practical experience and professional guidance. The level of experience can vary from little to no experience to some formal training. The attitude and interest of the participants in learning from the experience and working alongside professional artists is key.
Can anyone try out or is this only for residents of the Regent Park neighbourhood?
The Journey Studio is open to young emerging artists in dance, theatre, and music who are interested in a professional training program, with a majority of participants from Regent Park. The program is an opportunity for Regent Park’s talent to learn how to be in a professional theatre context and to access mentorship from more established Regent Park artists like Trevlyn Kay and Britta Badour – local stars of The Journey musical. There is no fee to participate, but there is an audition process.
What roles do these participants have in the production of The Journey?
The Journey Studio participants had the opportunity to join the cast in the 2016 musical production of The Journey. Participant Stacy Darko joined the principal cast in the role of Ms. Morgan, and Itzel Velazquez Martin joined the cast ensemble.
When will both The Journey Studio and The Journey production be held in 2017?
We are finalizing our 2017/2018 programming and look forward to sharing the details soon.
How have you worked with Daniels Spectrum to run this program?
Artscape—the operator of the Daniels Spectrum facility—has a mandate to offer to the Regent Park community and beyond artistic programming that fosters learning and provides access for participation. In a neighbourhood that faces significant economic, social and cultural barriers, The Journey Studio is an inspired way to connect underserved, at-risk Regent Park and area youth with high-quality arts programming, educational workshops and mentorships.
Anything else we should know about?
The Journey Studio 2016 was sponsored by The Daniels Corporation. Artscape also recognizes the support of all the sponsors of The Journey musical production including Presenting Sponsor Innocon, Learning Sponsor The Daniels Corporation and Community Sponsor RBC.
If you are interested in getting involed with The Journey Studio or another program at Danils Spectrum, visit the Daniels Spectrum website for more info.