Finding the balance between continuing your craft and supporting it can be truly difficult, especially in the arts, but if you continue pursuing your passion, and you believe that what you’re doing needs to be heard, then people will respond.
A passion for creating art is what drives Ned Loach, who cofounded 360 Screenings, an innovative live theatre company that fuses live performance with film to produce interactive cinema experiences. He shares his passion with us in this Q & A.
Tell us about yourself. What is your interest or involvement in the performing arts?
The performing arts has always been a part of my life. I grew up in a very musical family where we all played instruments, and I actually graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Music Education. From there I graduated from Humber College in their Arts Administration – Cultural Management course.
I knew I wanted to be in the arts, but in a position where I facilitate the creation of it. I’ve volunteered for a number of organizations across the city and have worked at some of the largest theatre companies in Toronto.
Can you tell us more about 360 Screenings? As co-founder of this unique “immersive cinema” company, what was your motivation for starting it?
The motivation really comes down to wanting to do something unique and fresh in this vibrant city. There are a number of cities around the world playing with the concept of immersive theatre, where guests are encouraged to break traditional expectations of audience behaviour (sitting quietly in a dark theatre watching), and we’re thrilled to be a part of this burgeoning trend.
The artistic director of 360 Screenings, Robert Gontier, comes from a strong theatre background and is a full-time Voice and Text professor at Sheridan College in the music theatre department, and I come from a film and music background; so we really bounce off each other’s passions.
Programming and planning these events are always a really exciting process where every single idea is put on the table. To give people an idea of what we do, we have a video recap of our most recent event, a screening of 28 Days Later.
What projects or upcoming events are you currently working on?
Now that our third event has wrapped, we are working hard on our fourth, which is scheduled for February 2013. We are always working one step ahead of our current position, so we had the venue and date of our fourth event booked long before our October 24th screening of 28 Days Later.
What do you see as the main challenges for those in the performing arts?
The main challenge I see in the performing arts is seeing very talented people lose hope or the drive for their craft. It’s really easy to give up. Finding the balance between continuing your craft and supporting it can be truly difficult, especially in the arts, but if you continue pursuing your passion, and you believe that what you’re doing needs to be heard, then people will respond.
Do you have an example or examples of the kinds of challenges that you have faced yourself as a composer or event organizer? How did you overcome them?
There are always a number of obstacles that seem to present themselves at the most inopportune time, but the real trick to this business—producing live theatre events—is being able to keep a level head and problem-solve on the fly. Changing plans is part of the game and is what keeps this whole thing exciting and interesting!
Our events, in particular, pose a huge challenge: we don’t tell our ticket buyers where they’re going or what they’re seeing. They essentially purchase tickets without knowing anything about the event, except from what they’ve seen of our past events. That’s a huge challenge, but as long as we trust that the product we are advertising is worth our guests’ time and money, then that will show in our marketing and advertising.
It’s also vitally important to know how to reach your targeted audience and know how to communicate effectively to them, and that’s something that we are constantly learning how to do.
What would you like to see happen in support of the performing arts, and why should it be supported?
The arts provide a vital and essential outlet for people, whether you’re creating it or observing it.
What role do you see BeMused playing in supporting the performing arts community?
Having an online resource of what’s happening in Toronto’s performing arts community will be a fantastic tool and a great way for new artists to get their name out there. I’m sure there are plenty of artists who are tremendously respected in their own community but entirely unknown to others, so this site will be a great way for them to have their voices heard across multiple platforms.
What words of advice do you wish you had been given when you were first starting out?
Speak up, make yourself heard.
Be sure to check out more video recaps of past 360 Screenings events at http://www.360screenings.com/about
So how are you passionate about the performing arts? Feel free to share your thoughts in a comment (or two).