Welcome Anika

Photo by Cheryl Kathler

We’d like to officially introduce you to Anika Vervecken. She has recently joined our team as our new Access Activator. Learn more about Anika below!

Can you tell us a little about your role at the Festival?

I work with artists to figure out how we can welcome more people to their shows. Then I work with the rest of the team to figure out how we can let people know which shows are right for them and their families. The most important part of my job is listening. 

I listen to kids, their families, people in the community about their experiences, what works and what we can do differently. 

I also listen to the artists, it is their work, so the information needs to come from them. For many artists, this is all new to them and that can be overwhelming. 

In my role, I also listen to other members of the Festival team. I may have ideas, but they know the Festival and its community much better than me. We need to make sure the team is supported and has the bandwidth to take on new things or change them. 

What are your initial thoughts and experiences?

It has been inspiring to join a team that is continually questioning how we do things, and not just around accessibility. It is clear that Kids Fest has been doing a lot of internal work, making small but profound changes rather than big performative ones. It’s nice to be able to join in and support a process rather than having to convince people that work needs to be done.

Please tell us why you decided to get involved with the Festival?

I did some consulting and support for the Festival before. When Katharine reached out about taking on a bigger role, it was pretty clear our visions aligned. We didn’t want to approach accessibility as boxes to tick but rather a slow and gradual process of learning, trying, failing and learning some more. The fact that I would get to work with amazing artists from all over the world didn’t hurt either. 

Have you attended the Festival before?

I came to see a couple of shows over the years, but it wasn’t until last year that I experienced the full Festival and I really regret not bringing my kid to it earlier. 

What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?

Hmmm, spare time… as a single mom and caregiver that concept seems quite foreign to me. I am trying to take better care of myself and part of that is doing something that is just for me. One of those things is swimming in the ocean (or inlet) any time of the year. 

What do you wish other people knew about the Festival?

That it is not just a festival for kids. The Festival showcases amazing shows from all over the globe that kids happen to enjoy.

What would you consider your hidden talent?

I can sing, but I don’t do it enough. 

How are you involved in your community?

I am on the board of a small film festival. We are trying to figure out how to build a healthy supportive staff-board relationship. 

What part of the Festival are you looking forward to the most?

Bringing my son and the person I care for to the Festival. 

How do you get creatively playful?

When I describe shows for people who are blind or partially sighted I get to transform a visual world into words. Figuring out how to describe how someone moves for example, or doing a complicated fight scene justice, that really gets my creative brain fired up.