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Behind-the-scenes: Meet Erin Corbett

Behind-the-scenes: Meet Erin Corbett

Erin Corbett (far right) in the YAC Lobby, post-show.

The YAA Awards have officially landed! Celebrating awesomeness in local arts and culture, the YAA Awards is a community-generated online poll where anyone can nominate and vote for their favourite arts events and festivals in each community through the Yukon.

Yukon artists, presenters, venues, volunteers and art lovers are all encouraged to submit  their events. Nominate something you made, or something you love! Nominations will be  accepted from Monday April 28th to Sunday, May 11th, after which a compiled poll will be  sent out for public voting!  For more information about the YAA Awards and the nomination  or voting process, please visit this page.

The Yukon Arts Audience Awards is the AWESOME brainchild of Yukon Arts Centre’s very own Erin Corbett.  A keen supporter of the arts in every format, Erin is constantly searching for new ways of engaging and enlivening YAC audiences and the community at large. Her dedication to an endless number of initiatives are matched only by her joy and enthusiasm in making meaningful and memorable experiences for the public and her peers. As Programming Associate at YAC for the past three years, Erin helps organize the performing arts season in the theatre. Last season alone, this included "Spin", Martha Wainwright, "Danse Lhasa Danse", Hawksley Workman's "The God That Comes", "Body 13", TJ Dawe’s "Medicine" and "Terminus", among others - oh and she was also a co-producer of the Pivot Festival and organizer of the Skeleton Parade.  Assured in her tireless AWESOMENESS, we thought we’d let the public in on all she does, and chatted with Erin about her interests and inspirations:

What is the most exciting/favourite thing about your job?

I love working with different artists from all over Canada, and abroad, and being exposed to some of the coolest touring performances. Before I started working at YAC, I only went to dance and music shows and now I’m hooked on live theatre as well. Working at YAC has made an immense impact on how I watch shows. Working in performing arts has been perfect because it satisfies my artistic appetite, and gets me out doing all kinds of things every day.

How did you get into this career?

I studied fine arts and have always been into organizing events. Whether it was extravagant parties, a youth conference or a music festival – I have a love for people and bringing them together to enjoy shows, especially challenging ones.

What are some interesting past jobs that you’ve held?

I used to teach video art to youth, worked as a bike mechanic, painted houses and was the Assistant Producer of Frostbite Music Festival in 2011.

What led you to the Yukon?

I had an absolutely wonderful and supportive Art Teacher at my BC high school. At the time I wanted to be a high school teacher, and she told me that it would be next to impossible to get a job in BC. She told me to check out the Yukon to get some work experience first. While my dream job changed, I followed her guidance to the Yukon and now consider it home.

Most memorable show/event/experience you’ve worked on?

Wow. It’s hard to name just one. Ride the Cyclone was one of the most memorable because it showed me that Musicals are AMAZING – and the cast/crew were a wild and inspiring bunch. Impromptu Splendor with Colin Mochrie was special because we I loved watching how they worked not only the crowd, but also performed with 10 local improv actors. In a similar situation we had 80+ volunteers for You Should Have Stayed Home: A G20 Romp and there were so many passionate conversations inspired by the show. One night I found myself babysitting some very intelligent kids so that their parents could perform in the play. Then there was this year’s Nakai Theatre’s Pivot Festival Presented with the Yukon Arts Centre which had awesome artists, but was also an awesome team to work with.

What are you passionate about?

Other than making shows happen I’m still super passionate about making things – be it weaving a basket, building a skeleton puppet, drawing posters and many other things – I just can’t stop making things.

Remeber to nominate/vote for your favouirte Yukon art event to win a YAA Award! For more information, click here.

Behind-the-scenes with Volunteers: Lynn LeBarge

Behind-the-scenes with Volunteers: Lynn LeBarge

City councillor Betty Irwin (l) and Lynn LeBarge (r) at the 2013 Volunteer of the Year awards held by the City of Whitehorse.                                                                               

The Yukon Arts Centre is blessed to have an outstanding crew of over 100 dedicated volunteers that share our passion and commitment to arts and culture in the Yukon.  These amazing individuals take time out of their own personal schedules to assist with countless events, programs and performances. In fact, much of what YAC does can only happen through their enthusiastic participation.  We thought it was about time that we shared our awesome volunteer team with the public; and what a better time to premiere our ‘Behind-the- Scenes with Volunteers’ than during National Volunteer Week!

National Volunteer Week (April 6 – 12, 2014) is an annual celebration of Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers.  The City of Whitehorse honoured its own volunteers this week by asking organizations to nominate candidates for ‘Volunteer of the Year’.  YAC’s  nominee, Lynn LeBarge, has been part of the Arts Centre team for over 19 years. She is also the creator of the Volunteer Voucher Program, which allows volunteers to donate their complimentary ticket vouchers to deserving local organizations. So far, thanks to Lynn’s great idea, Kaushee's Place (Yukon Women's Transition Home) has received tickets on behalf of our ever generous volunteers.  On the eve of her award, we chatted with Lynn about her experiences and the impetus behind her extensive volunteering.

What do you do as a volunteer here at YAC?

I am on a Front of House team. I usually work Coat Check, but have also ushered several times.  I can't read the tickets without my glasses, though!

You have been a volunteer at YAC for over 19 years. How/Why did you decide to volunteer here specifically?

I really enjoy live theatre, and the chance to see performances while doing something good for my community really appeals to me. 

What other organizations or events have you volunteered for?

I am currently a volunteer with Girl Guides of Canada as a Spark Guider.  I am completing my 38th year with GGC (as a girl and adult).  I help the Ladies of the Eastern Star fold bandages for cancer patients.  I knit blankets, hats, scarves and mittens for places like the Pediatric Unit at the Hospital, Kaushee's Place, and anywhere else where children may be in need of comfort.  I was a volunteer with the Klondike Road Relay for 22 years, working at a checkpoint, usually in the middle of the night.  I volunteer with the Terry Fox Run every year.  I was involved with Yukon Women In Trades and Technology since their founding in 2000, serving on the Board of Directors until a couple of years ago.  I am still a member but not quite as active right now.  I was the chair of the Mascot Committee for the Canada Winter Games and worked for 1.5 years prior to the Games recruiting and training mascot performers, as well as performing in the costume myself.  I volunteered every day of the Games for about 12 hours per day to keep the Mascot Program going strong.  I was a volunteer for the Arctic Winter Games in 2012, working in the Public Relations area.  This isn't an exhaustive list, but it does hit the highlights!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time – if you have any spare time that is?!

I enjoy reading, watching movies and walking.  I also have cats and enjoy spending time with them.  I make my own greeting cards and do a fair bit of sewing as well.

What did you do prior to becoming a volunteer?

I have always been a volunteer, since I can remember.  My father was very committed to his community, and passed that along to me.  I can't imagine my life without volunteer activities.

Your favourite thing about the Yukon?

I love living here!  It is such a vibrant community, while at the same time being very relaxed and friendly.  The scenery is beautiful and the unending hours of daylight in the summer charge up my internal batteries to keep me going through the long winters.  My community gives me so much enjoyment that it only seems right to give something back that helps others enjoy it as much as I do.

If you are interested in getting involved in our community, check out Volunteer Bénévoles Yukon.

Want to join the Yukon Arts Centre’s volunteer team? Visit this page for more information.

Meet the artist: Justin Rutledge

Meet the artist: Justin Rutledge

Acclaimed alt-country artist, Justin Rutledge is renowned for the rich musical texture and eloquent lyrics expressed throughout each of his five albums, including 'Valleyheart' - which just won the singer-songwriter a Juno this March. Following up on this success, Rutledge will be resting his songwriting skills, recording instead his take on some Tragically Hip classics. His sixth record, 'Daredevil', will be released this April, just before his performance alongside Kim Beggs and Oh Susanna as 'Dark Strangers' on Thursday, April 24th at the Yukon Arts Centre. Tickets $27.

How would you describe your music (in five words or less)?

Almost better than buttermilk pancakes.

What is the best/worst thing about your being a musician?

The solitude and the solitude.

What would you do if you were not a musician?

A baker.

Speaking of 'Dark Strangers': What do you appreciate most in your friends?

Loyalty, support, and a solid ear to bend.

What was your most memorable tour experience?

5 days/nights in Dawson City! The raw beauty has continued to sustain me with a sense  of wonder.

For more information about the artist and his music, please visit his website or Facebook page