Behind the Scenes

January 17, 2012

Katharine Carol, joined the Children’s Festival last year as Artistic Executive Director. This is her second year at the helm. Here she takes us behind the curtain.

 

How do you find new acts for the Festival?

Lots of research on the Internet, attending showcases, conferences, talking to colleagues and looking through promotional material sent to the Festival by performers.

 

What exactly are you looking for when you program the festival?

Innovative, creative, fun and engaging work that speaks to the Festival theme, which is storytelling this year, and will delight our audiences.

 

How have you been surprised by recently?

The sheer volume of amazing work being created for families is astounding. It makes picking the shows tough but it’s wonderful to have so much choice.

 

Have you noticed any new trends?

The shows for children are becoming more intimate so performers are interested in small spaces with smaller audiences. Granville Island is perfect for these kinds of shows.

 

How important is cultural diversity?

Very important. Producing a Festival for the Lower Mainland with the diverse population means it?s critical that we present a culturally wide range of work.

 

What do you love/hate about hitting the road and seeking out new performers?

I love traveling and searching for new, exciting performances. On the downside, I never enjoy telling a producer why I didn?t like their show.

 

What are the biggest challenges of programming this festival?

Right now, the biggest challenge is the funding cuts; however, we are moving forward in part due to our many supporters who came out and helped us with donations and/or buying tickets last year.

 

What is your favorite part about your job?

My favourite part of the job is finding exciting and creative programming. Once the Children’s Festival is running, I love witnessing the children engaged and enjoying themselves.

 

What role does the Internet play in sourcing out new performers?

I watch a lot of video clips of potential performers and use the Web as a research tool. But I typically see as many live shows as I can before booking them.

 

Who has most delighted you recently?

The actor from L?elefantino , a show we are presenting this year. He is as delightful a person and as he is a
performer.

 

How is the festival different now from 35 years ago?

The Festival started as a theatre festival but added music and dance in the second year. It was held outside in tents in a park. Many now-famous children?s artists began their careers here
including Fred Penner. The Festival was also the first place that Cirque de Soleil performed outside of Quebec. 

 

The biggest change came last year when we moved the Festival from Vanier Park to Granville Island. We took the performances out of the tents and into professional theatre spaces. That said, there
is one large tent and all arts activities are outside.

 

What?s the strangest place you?ve ever been to?

Iceland because of the landscape. It’s amazing ? so different from anywhere else l have been.