I am an apprentice… Heather Redfern

Issue number 6 on mentorships in the theatre:

FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
HR: It is only in the past 25 years we have had educational institutions teaching arts management; many of the current managers – including myself – have not had formal training in the field. We have been self taught or mentored and are now passing that on. Even with formal schooling, mentorship is essential.

FM:What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?
HR: Developing supportive professional relationships is one of the skills that is essential to artists and arts managers.

FM: Are there limitations to mentorship?
HR: It might be possible for a “mentoree” to become dependent on the mentor or to expect the mentor to “do the work” rather than guide the process.

FM: Which has greater value – self-initiated or formal mentoring – and why?

HR: Every mentorship needs to be self-initiated. It is impossible to mentor someone who doesn’t want to be in the situation.

FM: Why are mentorships not more readily available?
HR: Money and time.

HEATHER REDFERN is the Executive Director of The Vancouver East Cultural Centre and currently sits on the board of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, of which she was a founding member. Before coming to “The Cultch”, she was the Executive Director of the Greater Vancouver Alliance for Arts and Culture and the Artistic Producer for Catalyst Theatre in Edmonton.


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