As the Arts Club’s mission is to inspire and nurture artists and audiences through diverse cultural experiences, it is no wonder their LEAP program has endured such wonderful success. LEAP (“Learning Early About Playwriting”), now in its 11th year, is an interactive course that has mentored over 150 future playwrights to date.
Participants learn the basic principles of playwriting, share their work with classmates, and provide feedback for one another in a safe and supportive environment. Students also receive feedback from theatre professionals and have their plays workshopped and presented to the public in staged readings.
LEAP is a full-scholarship program, and is 100% funded by donors and sponsors. There is no cost to the student whatsoever.
This outreach initiative could not have been made possible without the generosity of the RBC Foundation, who have supported the program since its inception through their RBC Emerging Artists Program. At RBC, there is emphasis on taking care of their community, investing in places where they live and work. RBC recognizes that the performing arts play an important role in building vibrant communities and strong economies.
RBC is also committed to helping Canadian youth prepare for the jobs of tomorrow through RBC Future Launch. They know first-hand the importance of mentorship, apprenticeships and exposure to new and diverse experiences while an youth are developing their career. This was the impetus for creating their RBC Career Launch™ Program.
The RBC Career Launch Program was devised to assist recent college or university graduates looking for work experience to kick start their career in the right direction.
This year, a unique story emerged about one of the RBC Career Launch Program’s participants.
Enter Fahim Jaffer, who applied for the RBC Career Launch Program at a point in his life when he was unsure about which direction his career should move.
- “What the RBC Career Launch Program offered that was of most interest to me was a breadth of experiences to provide some perspective. Throughout the 3 multi-disciplinary rotations, RBC Career Launch Associates have the opportunity to identify our areas of interest and leverage support from our managers, as well as the resources available to explore new and exciting careers. In this sense, the RBC Career Launch Program was able to provide something not available in most traditional entry-level jobs, and that is what drew me in.”
Fahim was assigned a 3 month placement with the Development team here at the Arts Club, giving him an insider’s perspective of how an arts organization functions both on and off-stage.
- “The environment at the Arts Club was very welcoming and energizing – it felt like a big family! Prior to joining the RBC Career Launch Program, I had toyed with the idea of working in the nonprofit sector, and I have always had a passion for the arts!”
Fahim not only learned firsthand how important and integral relationship building is with individual donors, corporate sponsors and foundations, he was so inspired by the art form that his journey for self-discovery and career exploration has led him down a new path.
The support received from both RBC and the Arts Club translated Fahim’s passion for creative writing into a successful application to the LEAP Program at the Arts Club Theatre Company.
- “It was a desire to hone my skills while gaining exposure to new artistic mediums that inspired me to apply for LEAP. For years, I have felt the most alive when I am expressing myself artistically.”
Continuous funding from the RBC Foundation will ensure that aspiring playwrights, like Fahim, receive proper education and training early on while ensuring that no student is turned away due to financial restrictions. LEAP is a unique, one of a kind program in the province of British Columbia, by delivering the basic principles of playwriting while also providing access to a network comprising of like-minded individuals lead by award-winning experts.
- “Both the RBC Career Launch Program and the Arts Club’s LEAP Program have provided me with the opportunity to sharpen my existing tools and acquire new ones. I appreciate the opportunity to build a solid foundation to layer newly-acquired skills.”
Together, RBC and the Arts Club Theatre Company are devoted to nurturing the next generation of young professionals.