Meet our ARTrepreneur in Residence
Our ARTrepreneur in Residence Program is designed to help emerging artists turn their passion into a viable business by giving creative workers the tools needed to turn their craft into a career. From weavers to writers, the ARTrepreneur in Residence program accepts creators from all disciplines looking to start and grow their business in Fredericton.
For our June to September residence we've chosen Laura-Beth Bird, an emerging theatre artist in Atlantic Canada. We've asked Laura-Beth to introduce herself to the business community, and to tell us a little bit about her journey as an artrepreneur. This is her story...
I was born in Shropshire, England but emigrated to Canada when I was ten and proudly became a citizen four years ago. Since then, I have lived in various locations across Canada and for a brief period in Japan but, like many others, I found a home in New Brunswick. I moved to Fredericton for university and graduated from St. Thomas University with an English Drama Degree. Since then, I have worked on multiple productions such as this summer's Shakespeare festival, Cymbeline and a Comedy of Errors (2018, Bard in the Barracks), Thieves of Paradise (2017, Theatre St Thomas), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (2018, Theatre St. Thomas), Glitter (2017, Tracy Lavinge, Film), Infinity Land (2018, Creeker Films, Film), and most recently The Amazing Race Canada (2018, Chase 6 Productions, Television).
When I came here, I didn't intend to be an artist. As is often for the case of many 18-year-olds facing the reality of adulthood, I decided that a safe career would be the best option. I strolled into St. Thomas University convinced I was going to become a police officer and by the end of the first year that wasn't going to make me happy. The theatre classes I took in my second year were my sanctuary from criminology and federal law classes. One day, my instructor told me that this [theatre] could be my career if I pursued it like one, and it changed my life trajectory. I changed my major and hit the books, graduated with a degree in Dramatics and have not regretted a thing. I fell in love with directing in the last year of university. It was the perfect cross-section of artist vision, time management, and coaching. Since then I have worked to understand as many facets of the stage as possible by apprenticing under prominent members of the arts community. They have shown me much about style, the creative process and my own voice as an artist. They have directed me to funding platforms, creative spaces, and avenues for educational engagement.
I am proud to say that the New Brunswick arts community is a beautiful and expanding one. The creators are supportive and the audience is engaging. As I look to my future, I am excited to create more content and plan to create a business out of it. When I sit with my colleagues and discuss the pros and cons of various directing styles or mediums for a set, I think about who I want to hire for productions and what practice and performance spaces I want to rent. I want to stay in this community and create work by Maritimers. Our arts community is a rich and diverse one, and I intend to help show the rest of Canada just what we can do.