Penticton’s Tempest Theatre wants to encourage more locals to get involved in the burgeoning local film industry.
With a growing demand for trained and available local actors, the Tempest Theatre and Film Society has been working to expand the roster of local talent with courses and events designed to help new and developing actors.
With the pandemic putting many productions on hold and creating backlogs for other locations, production companies looked to other locations such as the Okanagan to bring their film and television shoots.
“Aside from the stunning landscapes and the variety of locations our region presents, external production companies are attracted by the tax credits offered to projects that shoot in rural areas and employ local talent and crew,” said Okanagan film commissioner Jon Summerland. “It’s a significant edge we have on the usual filming centres such as the Lower Mainland, but we have to have the people here to do the work or we will lose this opportunity.”
The sudden burst in activity has already seen impacts on the availability of local labour and talent, and Tempest is aiming to address any shortages with local training.
Artistic director Kate Twa has seen this kind of accelerated industry growth before and recognizes the challenges and opportunities that come with it.
“I watched the rapid growth of the industry in Vancouver in the 90s and have ideas on how to encourage and support healthy development here in the valley,” said Twa. “I think it will get busier and busier.”
Thanks to a partnership with Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen and a recent Impact Grant from the BC Arts Council, Tempest is now able to build out a suite of skills training sessions for actors. Starting with foundational techniques, classes range from a few hours, to several days, to an application-only nine-day acting intensive. Skills taught include traditional theatrical techniques, script analysis, audition training, and on-set protocols.
“We are offering classes to a full range of students,” said Twa. “To those who may want to try something new, improve public speaking and explore fun techniques to amplify expression and connection, as well as to those pursuing a career in acting.”
Anyone interested in training opportunities can visit www.tempest.ca/classes to find out more.
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