Since announcing a complete organization transformation in September 2014, STAF (Small Theatre Administrative Facility) has been steadily working with the arts community to design and implement new programming and initiatives that meet the evolving demands artists are facing.
Last night, the transformation was complete as Executive Director Michael Wheeler unveiled the new name: GENERATOR .
“After gathering name suggestions from the community, we thought a lot about what our new name meant. Generator is about creation and capacity – we are generating ideas, resources, discussions, processes, and space for people to generate their own work the way they envision it.” says Wheeler. “The transition from a fees-for-service ‘administration facility’ into an ‘innovation incubator’ empowers artists by giving them the skills and confidence to manage their own means of production. We feel that Generator, by definition, embodies that purpose. To generate is to produce.”
In addition to a new name and logo, Generator announced their final piece of new programming, PORTAL: an innovative, online digital resource for independent performance producers launching in 2017. With project funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Toronto Arts Council’s Open Door strategic funding, PORTAL will be one centralized platform for all things producing-in-Toronto.
“Through our Open Source Brainstorm and countless conversations with the community, we know knowledge-sharing is a major issue for emerging artists. They are spending a significant amount of time reinventing the wheel. It’s not innovation, it’s aggravation. The knowledge is out there, they just don’t know how to access it and they are burning out with the effort of trying. There is no quick Google search but our hope with PORTAL is that there will be.”
Through one landing page, producers and educators will be able to access pre-existing producing resources, a Wiki-based resource centre with templates and samples, and a dedicated YouTube channel for independent performance in Toronto. As a wiki, information can be open sourced from experienced producers while the curation process by Generator promotes accuracy and best practices within the posts.
Director of Coordination & Communications Katie Leamen adds, “Majority of independent producing happens at off hours, in-between rehearsals and after working day jobs. It’s incredibly valuable as a producer to have a resource you can access at any moment that has the exact information you need to know right this second, not just a workshop you could take in a couple months. As a producer myself, I have definitely sat alone at my computer at 3am wishing that something like PORTAL existed.”