Workshop Series


Build Skills. Spark Discussion. Refine Practices. Get Involved. New for 2018, The Nextfest Arts Company presents the Nextfest Workshop Series.

We’re bridging the gap between artistic training and the real world of being an artist. Daily workshops will invite dedicated professional mentors and experts from Edmonton arts communities to teach, lead and facilitate workshops directed at artistic skill growth, the business of being an artist, the sustainability of artistic careers. Participants will be given a common ground for discussion and the unique opportunity to learn from like-minded individuals.

Workshops are free for all emerging artists. Workshops slots can be claimed by signing
up at the links below. Sign up soon – all slots are first come, first served and space is limited.

Not a Nextfest artist? Sign up for a workshop and we’ll add you to the Artist List plus we’ll hook you up with an all-access festival pass and an invitation to the closing party.

2018 Nextfest Workshop Series DESCRIPTIONS

Promoting on a (non-existent) Budget
June 1, 2018 1pm – 3pm
at the ATB Financial Branch for Arts & Culture (9804 Jasper Ave)
with Megan Dart, Marielle TerHart & Guests

The dream comes for free – it’s the hustle you pay for. Learn to promote your passion on little to no budget. With a focus on indie promotions in a competitive artistic landscape, workshoppers will learn valuable tools for developing audience, establishing social media credibility, building media relations, and getting bums in seats.

Megan Dart is the resident playwright and co-Artistic Producer of the award-winning indie theatre company Catch the Keys Productions, and a professional Communications Consultant with more than 12 years experience in corporate and not-for-profit communications, public affairs, event management, and local and national media relations. Working with a variety of clients from small startup entrepreneurships to large government and academic institutions, Megan has managed upward of 200 events per year, coordinated national lobbying campaigns involving more than 2 million Canadians, changed provincial and federal legislation, unveiled city landmarks, and helped coordinate media for the largest minor hockey tournament in North America. Megan is the Communications Specialist with Fringe Theatre, the Marketing Manager and Artist Liaison with Nextfest, the Marketing Manager with The Chinook Series, and a freelance arts publicist for a long list of local arts organizations. Megan was named one of the Top 100 Women in Business by The Wanderer Online, and is a Grant MacEwan University Distinguished Alumni.

Marielle Elizabeth runs a boutique social media company specializing in social media management, content creation and brand photography for locally owned businesses and events. With over five years of experience, Marielle is well versed n idesigning compelling content that reaches the right audiences while standing out in a crowd (and staying on budget). Her work and photography can be found on countless Edmonton accounts including Plaza Bowl, RAAS YEG, Edmonton Design Week, General Concern, Mill Creek Picture Framing, and Oliver Apt. Off the clock, she works with Fashion Revolution Canada, performs with Rapid Fire Theatre, and mixes a stiff drink.

IATSE Set Etiquette & Protocol 
June 3, 2018 11am – 4pm
at the ATB Financial Branch for Arts & Culture (9804 Jasper Ave)
with Dean Davey

Developed by industry unions and taught by industry professionals, this workshop is a must for those considering film and television careers. Set Etiquette & Protocol will cover who reports to whom, do’s and don’ts of life on location and job expectations. Safety issues and on-set vocabulary will also be addressed.

If you’ve ever considered joining the Director’s Guild of Canada (DGC) or The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), this course is a requirement for entry and would typically come at the individual registrants expense. Take advantage of this training opportunity while NextFest is footing the bill!

Following the formal instruction, stick around to meet DGC Edmonton representative Samantha Quantz and IATSE Member Dean Davey. They will discuss the benefits of union membership and answer any questions you might have about their respective organizations.

Registration is required to ensure an accurate amount of print materials and course completion cards are prepared.

Indie Producing
June 4, 2018 2:30pm – 5:30pm
at the Roxy on Gateway Theatre (8529 103 Street)
with Ellen Chorley

You have an idea for a show or a script you want to produce.  What’s the next step? This workshop will focus on how to produce a project within the main season or during a Fringe Festival.  By collaborating with other workshop participants to put up a passion project piece by piece, this workshop will focus on planning, timeline, budget, funding, marketing, rehearsal, and your role as a producer. 

Ellen Chorley is the Festival Director of Nextfest and has been producing new work on stages all over Edmonton, and at Fringe Festivals all over Western Canada for the past twelve years.  She is the Founder and Artistic Director of the indie theatre for young audiences company Promise Productions which has produced the Sterling awarding play Murielle (co-created with Blarney Productions) and the Sterling nominated plays The Fairy Catcher’s Companion, Princess Confidential and Birdie on the Wrong Bus.  She is also the Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of the award winning feminist burlesque theatre company Send in the Girls Burlesque who has presented held-over sold out runs at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival, at the Citadel Theatre and most recently at the Backstage Theatre and the Capitol Theatre in Fort Edmonton Park.  Ellen also served as the Artistic Associate in charge of Publicity and Outreach for Edmonton’s Northern Light Theatre for almost eight years.

Bharata Natyam Workshop
June 5, 2018 12:30pm – 2:30pm AND June 7, 2018 12:30pm – 2:30pm
(please note: this is a two day workshop!)
at the Good Women Dance Collective Studio (11205 107 Ave)
with Kiruthika Rathanaswami
This is an introductory level workshop into one of the classical dance styles of India “bharata natyam” Participants will learn the basic body positioning, advaus (steps), hand gestures, rhythms, and facial expressions.  No previous experience is required. All skills and abilities can participate.

Kiruthika Rathanaswami is an Indian classical dancer in the bharata natyam style of dance. She has been under the guidance of Jai Govinda, Artistic Director of Mandala Arts and Culture in Vancouver for the past 22 years.

Pitching Theatre Workshop
June 5, 2018 2pm – 3pm
at the ATB Financial Arts Barns, Studio A (10330 84 Ave)
with Murray Utas

You have a project and a plan, now it’s time to find the partner to help get the show on its feet, but how?  Sit down with long time independent theatre artist and Fringe Theatre Artistic Director, Murray Utas, to develop a good pitch and find the partner that aligns well with your vision.

Murray Utas is an artist who acts, directs, creates and produces. He is currently the Artistic Director at Fringe Theatre Adventures. If his name rings a bell, then it’s probably because as a patron of the Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival you have attended one of the numerous productions he has been involved in over the past twenty years. Or perhaps you are familiar with Nextfest (Edmonton’s multi-disciplinary emerging artist festival) where he was the Festival Manager for five years, facilitating the professional development needs and exposure of a generation of Edmonton’s young artists. Or maybe you are one of the thousands of high school students from smaller Alberta communities touched by his work with Azimuth Theatre: a company he worked for as a young actor before graduating to a senior staff position in 2003. Or perhaps – if you hail from elsewhere – you experienced his work with Great West Theatre in Fort McLeod, or Chemainus Theatre in BC, or one of his national tours with Stuck In A Snowbank Theatre. Maybe that’s why his name rings a bell. Or…maybe he was your neighbour back in the day, back in Bashaw, Alberta? Maybe that Utas kid grew up following a web of country roads that eventually led this prairie boy to the Edmonton that he now calls home.

Pitching for Visual Art
June 5, 2018 2pm – 3pm
at DC3 Arts Projects (10567 111 St)
with Michelle Schultz

In this pitching workshop, Michelle Schultz will take visual artists through what it takes to approach galleries and submit your portfolios.

Michelle Schultz has been the Director of dc3 Art Projects since 2015, returning to Edmonton from Los Angeles, CA where she was Director of an emerging contemporary art gallery for three years. Prior to this, she lived in London, UK where she worked with Somerset House, Frieze Art Fair and Whitechapel Gallery, as well as publications Ibraaz and DailyServing. She holds an MA in Contemporary Art from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, and sits on the Board of Directors at Latitude 53 and the Edmonton Arts Council Public Art Committee.

Equity & Diversity in Theatre
June 6, 2018 10am – 4pm
with Gina Puntil & Jenna Rodgers
at the ATB Financial Branch for Arts & Culture (9804 Jasper Ave)

We know that our theatre communities are hungry for change. The past year has brought more awareness than ever to the injustice that exists in the systems and frameworks that govern our processes. How do we make change in the system that surrounds us? This workshop work with participants through embodied activity, facilitated conversation, and a few worksheets to look at frameworks you can use to assess your own personal power and privilege, as well as tools you can use to shift your artistic practice towards equity and inclusion.

Gig/Tour Management & Brand Awareness
June 6, 2018 1pm – 2pm
at The Sewing Machine Factory (9562 82 Ave)
with Mustafa Rafiq

Mustafa Rafiq will be providing information on booking local gigs, as well as how to start planning a tour, cities to avoid, and best places to go. How to connect with niche communities for genre specifics and why brand management is important. Tips on social media management and how to pump without being annoying!
Having fun through promotion!

Mustafa Rafiq (مصطفى رفي) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Treaty 6 land in Edmonton, Alberta. Their primary focus in the last few years has been in exploring experimental art form through sound. Their work is also informed by being one of the main promoters in the Edmonton community, putting on almost 100 shows since 2015 under Sweaty Palms. Mustafa is a main curator for Nextfest and Found Fest while maintaining the goal to continuously foster the emerging artist community. Mustafa’s recent work has focused on creating safe and transformative spaces for artists of colour and queer communities. In his free time, Mustafa also performs as a member of Pyramid//Indigo and as a solo artist under the moniker of Family Injera. 2018 sees performances at Big Fun (Winnipeg), Sled Island (Calgary) and Pretty Good Not Bad (Victoria). Mustafa’s work has been informed by storytelling and understanding his own identity as a queer person of colour. His community involvement focuses on creating collaboration in communities that wouldn’t normally connect.

Pitching Dance Workshop
June 6, 2018 2pm – 3pm
at the Good Women Dance Studio (11205 107 Ave)
with Ainsley Hillyard

This workshop will be an informal dialog facilitated by Ainsley Hillyard, about living and working as a dance artist in Edmonton. In regards to ‘pitching’ for dancers this could mean writing festival applications, networking, auditioning, independent production or simply how to sustain yourself as a movement artist. Come with questions and curiosity.

Ainsley Hillyard is an Edmonton-based choreographer, performer and educator who works in contemporary dance and theatre. Ainsley is a collective artist with, and a founding member of the Good Women Dance Collective. Select choreography credits include; The Other and Bears (Sterling Award for Outstanding Choreography) with Pyretic Productions; Beckett’s Shorts and Genius Code with Surreal SoReal Theatre; Ursa Major and Snout with Catch The Keys Productions, 9 Parts of Desire with The Maggie Tree, Jack and the Beanstalk with Alberta Opera and assistant choreographing for Hadestown at the Citadel.

Album Release Checklist
June 7, 2018 11am – 2pm
at the ATB Financial Branch for Arts & Culture (9804 Jasper Ave)
with Jesse Northey

Jesse Northey will go over the steps to properly release an album, including production process, mastering, printing for CD, Vinyl, tapes, publicity campaigns, radio campaigns, royalty registration, grants, touring and more! This workshop will cater to musical artists at all levels of their careers and provide a healthy environment to talk about realistic prices, timelines, and expectations for your future album releases.

Jesse Northey is an active participant in the Edmonton music community where he currently resides. For years Jesse primarily worked as recording engineer and producer for bands across Western Canada but soon fell into other music industry jobs. Jesse worked as the Program Manager at Alberta Music for 2017 and has since started his own music company.

Live sound, post production work in the radio,television, and film industry, as well as music composition are also among his skill sets. Jesse works out of Edmontone and Riverdale Recorders in addition to his personal studio True North Recording Studios. These jobs keep Jesse in tune with the broader music scene and puts him in the position of being a great resource to those looking to produce music, or move themselves forward in their career.

Movement for Non-Dancers
June 8, 12:30m – 2:30pm
at the Good Women Dance Collective Studio (11205 107 Ave)
with Ainsley Hillyard

This class will focus on body awareness, a key factor in using dance and movement as a tool in your art making. Through a series of guided improvisations we will gain a deeper understanding of our body’s potential for movement and choreography. This class will also focus on basic creation techniques in dance discovered through improvisations. No previous dance experience is necessary, participants should wear comfortable clothing to move in and bare feet. There will be quite a bit of partner work that involves light touch, if this is an issue please contact the instructor prior to the class so they may develop some alternate tools for you to participate with. Consent is always practiced in these sessions especially when involving physical touch.

Grant Writing Workshop
June 8, 2018 1pm – 3pm
at The Roxy on Gateway Theatre (8529 Gateway Blvd)
with Kate Stashko, Brooke Leifso, Brandon Wint, and Julie NIUBOI Ferguson

Want to learn more about the art of grant writing but don’t know where to start? We’ve got a panel of artists who bring a variety of perspectives to this tricky but necessary part of being an artist. Please join us for this interactive session, and bring your questions, and any grants you are working on!

Need help with your next grant? Contact Kate Stashko ( for support!

Visual Art Workshop: Survive, Thrive and Savour Your Life as an Artist
June 9, 2018 11am – 1pm
at Visual Arts Alberta (10215 112 St NW)
with Sharon Moore-Foster

Sharon Moore-Foster discusses the business of visual arts, being realistic in your artist life and the benefits (joy) beyond financial success. She addresses how to continue in a studio practice throughout your life, and how the work you create shapes both your identity and the communities you engage with.

Sharon Moore-Foster is a professional visual artist, art educator, motivational speaker and facilitator with over forty years experience. In her 20 years experience in non-profit arts organizations, and currently in her role as the Program and Development Coordinator, she provides mentorship and professional development opportunities to help artists build their professional practices. She is dedicated both personally and professionally to developing involved artistic / creative communities. Moore-Foster draws, paints and sculpts, investigating life, form and essence.

Film Festival Submissions 101
June 10, 2018 1pm – 2pm
at the ATB Financial Branch for Arts & Culture (9804 Jasper Ave)
with Guy Lavallee

So you’ve made your film. Now what?! There are literally THOUSANDS of film festivals out there these days, so how do you separate the wheat from the chaff? Which festivals are worth submitting to, and what are some of the ‘do’s and don’ts’ you should keep in mind when navigating the film fest circuit? This workshop will give emerging filmmakers some advice on festival strategies, along with some ‘insider insight’ into what programmers might be looking for. 

With over 25 years spent in the Canadian film, television and music industries, Guy has spent the last 10 years+ programming film festivals. He currently serves as Program & Festival Director for the NorthwestFest International Documentary Festival and the Rainbow Visions Film Festival, both based in Edmonton; and is Programmer of the New American Cinema and Music on Screen series’ for the Calgary International Film Festival.

In addition to his film fest work, Guy also wrote, produced and acted as on-air host for Citytv’s weekly film segment, ‘The Movie Guy’, and he’s directed a number of short documentaries, winning an AMPIA ‘ROSIE’ Award for his Tour of Alberta pro bike race doc, “Making the Tour”. He is also partner in a local production company, River Valley Films, which currently has a number of projects in development.

Taxes for Artists
by Roger Thomson

We had an overwhelming number of requests for information on how to do your taxes as an artist. Our unending thanks to Roger Thomson, Accountant, for compiling a complete handbook on how to do your taxes as an artist, titled The Art of Bookkeeping & Tax Savings for Artists, as well as  a handy list of applicable deductions, and a sample T1 form.

Want more?

The Good Women Dance Collective are offering FREE company classes to all Nextfest artists June 5- 8. Simply show your Artist Pass at the door. Click here for more information!