By Catherine Ballachey

Everyone has a different story of how they got started in theatre, whether as an actor, writer, designer, or patron. A long, long time ago in a city not so far away, my grandfather took me to Showboat, and, a few years later, I was cast as a wise-cracking warthog in a certain Disney musical (nailed that role, obviously).

Needless to say, I was bit by the theatre bug at a young age and haven’t looked back. Now that I find myself as the Education Services Manager and Artist Liaison at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa, I’ve been thinking about how to give back to the community that has supported me and helped me grow. How can I introduce the next generation of actors, writers, designers, and patrons to the theatre for a little bug bite of their own?

I was inspired to put this thought into action after meeting other exciting and innovative Artist Educators at YPT’s Artist Educator Training in September. That’s exactly where the brainstorming started for GCTC’s new youth-focused program The Hive @ GCTC.

The Hive at GCTC is a unique program designed to introduce high school and early university students to the inner workings of GCTC and the theatre community. Participants are added to a mailing list along with other interested and engaged students. The group leaders, GCTC’s Metcalf Foundation Intern in artistic direction, Bronwyn Steinberg, and yours truly send out invitations to monthly events specially designed for members of The Hive, as well as information about workshops, shows, and opportunities in the Ottawa theatre community.

For each workshop hosted at the theatre, we invite a different designer, artist, or crew member to join the group and share a deeper insight into the productions and how GCTC works. The goal of the program is to encourage the next generation of theatre goers and creators.

To learn more, check out the GCTC website or, if you or anyone you know in the Ottawa theatre community is interested, feel free to email me directly, introducing yourself and your interests.

Catherine Ballachey

Originally from Vancouver, Catherine Ballachey recently completed her Master of Arts in Theatre Theory and Dramaturgy at the University of Ottawa. Her research focused on the methodologies of dramatic adaptation with the added component of a creative project. In 2009, she graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Contemporary Arts program with a major in Performance Theatre and a minor in French. That same year, she founded a Vancouver-based theatre company, Resounding Scream Theatre, with a colleague, Stephanie Henderson. She has also worked with a number of theatre companies in Vancouver and Ottawa in various roles, including Stage Manager, Producer, Interim General Manager, Dramaturg, and Assistant Director. She is currently working as Front of House and Education Services Manager/Artist Liaison at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa.