As we mark the 150th anniversary of confederation, The Philanthropist is profiling Canadians from across the non-profit sector and putting a face to 150 individuals who work or volunteer in Canada’s social sector.
Name: Beatriz Pizano
Current role in the sector: Artistic Director, Aluna Theatre and RUTAS Panamericanas
Years working and/or volunteering in the non-profit sector: 16 years
What was your first job in the sector or a defining moment?
I founded Aluna Theatre in 2001 as a response to the under-representation and mis-representation of cultural diversity in Canadian theatre. My goals are to create theatre that gives an opportunity to as many artists from the Latin American diaspora as possible, with a strong focus on developing women’s voices; to work with culturally diverse artists; and to share the company’s approach to creation: one that is inspired and influenced by my Latin American and Canadian roots.
Describe your desk/workspace.
I love my work space. Aluna Theatre is divided into an office space and a rehearsal room. As creators we need to make sure that our work is not all behind a desk. Although being a small company we do most of the administration ourselves, we need to be rigorous about our creation time. The rehearsal space is equipped with lights and sound, plus a dance floor that we installed ourselves. The office has two levels: an upstairs where we have desks and computers and the meeting room downstairs. I spend most of my time downstairs. It has two huge windows. Around 4pm the GO train starts to go by. It adds to the ambience of the space. We share our office space with Modern Times Stage Company and we try to give as many artists as possible the possibility to use the rehearsal space. It’s all about sharing.
What are you reading or following that has expanded your understanding of the non-profit sector?
My understanding of the non-profit sector comes from my life as a theatre artist. I have mainly worked in the sector. I attend gatherings, meetings, conferences where I meet other colleagues whose companies are all non-profit. For me this has been the best source of information. I think the arts have many challenges and I am grateful that in this country most of us as artists work in the non-profit sector. We do it not for the money but because we believe in what we do and we care deeply.
What do you think our sector needs to be thinking about?
More support for those working in the sector. In the arts most of us who run small organizations have not been trained for the demands and the challenges of running non-profit organizations. We learn on the job, and of course, we are always lacking in human resources. Rehearsal and performance spaces are also few in Toronto, and extremely expensive for non-profit organizations. I also think newcomer organizations need much support in understanding how the non-profit sector works and how they could participate. Many cultural centres service a large number of community members with no support. More accessible information would allow these organizations to join the non-profit sector.
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