All of my life, I have believed in the power of arts education. I know that we develop empathy and understanding through the arts. We strengthen our all-important, intuitive right brains. We learn specific and tangible skills that benefit every aspect of our lives. As an artist instructor, I have taught calligraphy, writing and theatre arts and in each discipline, I’ve witnessed a tangible difference toward making the world a better place.
I’ve worked in theatre arts education in Ottawa for over twenty years. In 2013, I began the Ottawa Children’s Theatre with four classes on Saturdays at The Avalon Theatre on Bank Street. We had 28 students. In 2017, the school found a wonderful home at Carleton Dominion Chalmers Centre. Over the years enrolment grew, we expanded our role as representative for Trinity College London, we learned how to teach online during the pandemic, then bounced back from the pandemic and celebrated live performances. This past spring we had 211 students, ranging in age from 5 – 17, in 25 different classes. A few of those students have been with us since 2013, many were with us pre-pandemic, and all are now part of the wonderful OCT family.
Through it all, I have had tremendous support. I have come to know parents, students, and instructors and to develop friendships that have deeply enriched my life. I have watched young people grow, solve problems, and thrive as they embrace the world of drama. It has been enormously gratifying, and I am deeply proud of everything OCT has accomplished.
But these years have been busy for me personally, aside from OCT. Over the course of the last eight years, I produced a play that went on to be produced at The National Arts Centre (Up to Low), I did an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, I published three novels and have another three books under contract. And I have happily entered the world of grandparenthood.
I’ve decided it is now time for me to pass along the torch at Ottawa Children’s Theatre and focus on my family, my books and my garden.
I have worked with Nick Miller for 18 years. When I was Artistic Director of The Ottawa School of Speech & Drama, Nick was one of the first new artists I hired. He came to OSSD with exciting ideas about drama, clowning, improvisation, and circus skills. Over the years I have deeply valued his collaborative spirit, generosity and creativity. As I began to look for a successor to the work that I have done, I realized that Nick was the perfect person to take on this role. He has already had a tremendous impact on the development of OCT, and I am thrilled to announce that he will be taking over the reins. While it is very hard to leave, I know I am leaving OCT in wonderful hands.
This is not “retirement” as some people label it. It is a new phase. It’s been a great run and now it’s time to exit this particular stage.
I’m looking forward to the next show. Stay tuned…
4 thoughts on “Exit Stage Left”
So excited to see Nick taking over: a lovely guy, full of enthusiasm and heart. I also have to admit, I’m excited at the thought of having Amanda home a bit more often!
HA! Me too!
Congratulations Amanda! You have left a wonderful legacy of theatre arts education in Ottawa. It’s a bittersweet transition to your next ‘act’ as your family and friends, students and teachers reflect on the incredible impact you’ve had on so many lives – the way you teach, the way you mentor, the way you care. Your warmth and energy and passion is going to be missed but you have left OCT in excellent hands with Nick Miller and all the fantastic teachers at the school. Enjoy a relaxing summer with your children and grandchildren (!), your mother and most of all of course, with Tim. xo
Thank you so much, Monica. I am just so delighted that part of the journey brought us together. The support that I have received over the years from you has been fundamental in being able to continue to do the work. xox