The E.D. Types: #helpshapetheQDF

March 21, 2015


The strength of QDF is found in its members; people who are committed to their practice and recognise the significance of our interconnectedness. While we at QDF toil within the specific field of English-language Theatre in Quebec, we also recognise that our membership is made up of individuals and practices that are diverse and varied. Shifts in trends, resources and profiles, also require that occasionally, as an organization, take time to reflect, review and readjust where needed.

Over the month of March, our communications department has been surveying members, partners and stakeholders to solicited feedback about QDF and its services.  On March 21, the Board of Directors, representative of a cross section of our community, met in retreat to engage the three Rs, and chart the course for the next three years. The work has just begun, but I can report a meeting that was enthusiastic, engaged and energising.

We will be keeping you posted on developments, and will consult with members regarding any major changes, as always, at our annual AGM.

Special thanks to Mr Barry Cole and Christine St. John, who volunteered their time to guide and assist us in our endeavour, and whose support was invaluable.

The E.D. Types: The Cycle of Growth

March 20th, 2015

The Cycle of Growth

It is said, that you truly know something when you can teach it to others. Sharing with others is a great way of knowing just how much you know. Better yet, is that when others share with you, you have the opportunity not only to learn the new, but also to learn anew.

Today, I attended the annual YES Artists Conference. While I may relatively new to the field, I am not new to the game. As such, I expected the renewal of learning anew, that which I already knew, but I did not anticipate the firestorm of creativity it set off in me.

Speakers such as Jordan LeBel, Jean Robert Nolet, Linda Rutenberg, and Dr. Lidia Varbanova shared with such passion that I was instantly reconnected to the “why” of my career choices. A large panel, that included our own Amy Blackmore, exploring a single subject, networking, allowed us to perceive best practices, as well as, reminded that there is more than one way to make it happen.

On this the first day of spring, I am reminded that our work not only consists of our development efforts, but also of the seeds we sew, and the fertilizer we feed them with.  I may not know exactly where I will apply the knowledge and ideas I cultivated today, but I have no doubt that the investment I made in going today will pay off ten fold in the future.

The E.D. Types: A Case of Mistaken Identity

A Case of Mistaken Identity.

January 15, 2015

We all have different roles and titles we wear. As we add each new one, the others must be adjusted.

By nature, I am a frank and forthright person, who has no problem being accountable for the things I say. Taking on the title of ED here at QDF however, means that I, as an individual artist, must distinguish when I am speaking for me, and when I am speaking for QDF. Moreover, there are some things that I just cannot speak on, as I could be perceived as speaking for the community.

Add to this, that I had a few precious years recently, where I was invisible in the community – no one but my closest and dearest heard/cared  what I had to say, and I didn’t have to worry if they knew what I meant by it.

Recently, I signed an open letter for DAM, first as an individual artist, and then on behalf of QDF. I subsequently made comments on the issue from the perspective of an individual artist, which could be projected onto QDF.

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The E.D. Types: WhooSaaaah


January 3, 2015

The second half of 2014 seemed to speed by, and December arrived to find me a little worse for wear. Truth is, when it comes to my life and sense of self, I am a control freak.  Encountering situations that force me to play catch-up, and where my ability to manage outcomes is hampered by needed resources or knowledge, is a level 7 stressor for me; and stress over time, causes wear and tear.

As such, my team now knows what it looks like when Deb is pulling her hair out, and my Board and the METAC, now know that I get verklempt by too many late nights.

Thankfully the holiday period arrived, giving me time for respite, reflection and allowing me to get in touch with how truly blessed I am.

As I prepare to get back into the thick of things, I am excited with anticipation of the work ahead. I greet the new working year with the awareness that I am doing the best I can, and so far, it has been enough. I am no longer totally haunted by the fear of falling, but instead, am focused on helping my community to fly.


The E.D. Types: A Gathering Moment

A Gathering Moment 

November 24, 2014

This evening I had the pleasure of assisting at my first AGM as ED. We rarely get the chance to gather as a community, so despite the pressure of the moment, I was really looking forward to it.

AGMs are basically dry events, where we review the challenges and achievements of the organization over the past year, and cast our eye forward to share intents for the future.  Yet this being the theatre community, we managed to bring much warmth into the room. As we detailed the challenges we face, there was such a lightening of the weight as the community responded with insight and support.

There is no question, that a position such as mine, where I am accountable for and to an entire community, is enough to keep me up some nights. The AGM was a great reminder that while that may be my circumstance, I am also surrounded by a insightful and giving community, and I am far from in this alone.

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The E.D. Types: Celebrating Excellence

Celebrating Excellence

October 7, 2014

What do the METAs mean to us at The Quebec Drama Federation? An opportunity to gather the community together, and collectively say, “We bare witness, and, we celebrate you.”

To the Emerging Artist, toiling in what feels to them as the shadows, the METAs say, we bear witness. To the Playwright, feeling secluded in the creative process, the METAs say, we bear witness. To the Directors, who wonder if anyone knows that their job description can include wrestling alligators, the METAs say, we bear witness. To the Artistic Directors, struggling to keep companies afloat, mostly by the force of sheer will, yet producing work that enraptures, engages, and emboldens us, the METAs say, we bear witness.   To the Community and Regional Theatres, who wonder if anyone knows there is outstanding cultural life off the Island, the METAs say, we bear witness. To those Artists, who manage to overcome all the creative challenges, limited resources and isolation, to put forward efforts that take our breath away, the METAs say, bear witness and we celebrate you!

The QDF Staff and Board, join in celebrating all of the Theatre community, for their contributions to the diverse and vibrant tapestry that is English language Theatre in Quebec, and join with you, in celebrating all of the nominees and recipients of METAs for outstanding performance, as beacons of excellence.

Please note: The above is a republication of the text prepared for the 2014 META Program.

The E.D. Types: Launching into Fall

Launching into Fall

September 8, 2014

After the very warm weather of the past couple of weeks, I am more than happy to welcome fall. What better way to project myself forward, than the coming attractions on offer at the QDF Fall 2014 Launch.  Having sat in that audience before, at the Segal Centre, I remember the feeling of discovery as each presenter took the stage. The addition of film clips offered another dimension that just pulled me in closer.

What I did not anticipate was just how nervous I would be in representing the QDF team. There I stood, doing all the things that I call actors on; pacing the stage, gesticulating needlessly and not being completely off book.

Yet as I stood there, my knees quickly stilled. The love coming at me quickly reminded me, that we were all there for the same reason; the love of theatre. All I had to do was get out of the way, without a pratfall, and join love fest.

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The E.D. Types: Starting off with a Thwack!

Starting off with a Thwack!

July 21, 2014 

My first community challenge this year’s was the QDF Softball Tournament.  What a wonderful way to start!

No matter how others describe something, I don’t really get it until I see/live it myself. So while my team buised about, efficiently preparing for the event, I was nervous in meeting the challenge of the unknown.

Luckily, I have an ace up my sleeve in Cassandra Togneri, who coordinated this event with aplomb. Putting members first, she was the picture of the iconic Tasmanian Devil, attending to tasks to ensure the comfort and safety of all.

Arriving at the park to join the set-up team, I quickly realised that this may be a listed as an all fun day, but folks were bringing their A game. Before the team could even unpack the van, players were on the field warming up and strategising.

At eight-thirty, the bulk of teams began to pour into the park, and with them came a sense of community that would grow and flourish throughout the day. While there was no doubt a good deal of competitive spirit at play, what reached me most, was a joy and playfulness at having a chance to gather and share more than work. Our new friends over at Creemore Springs , also lent a lubricating hand, with their generous support of our community.

By the last game things got really hot; both literally and figuratively. The competitive spirit rose to a fevered and slightly partisan pitch. As I stood back and tried to keep my own cheerleading fair – can’t help but root for those you know and love- I could not believe the level of play I was witnessing. Here it was, 9 hours after the first game was played, and these two teams were battling like it was World Series. It was not until I strolled over to the scorekeeper that I realised just how fierce these players are. Here they were, at a point in the game where the winner was all but a given, yet neither gave an inch.  As such, those who braved the heat to support teams and watch the games, were treated to some great displays of sportsmanship.

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The E.D. Types: Merging


July 3, 2014

What’s it like to take on the Executive Director’s role at QDF? Imagine that you’re driving in a familiar, yet different city. It is rush hour and you have to merge onto a highway, at a spot where it is also intersecting and merging with several other highways. Add to this that you have been entrusted with the responsibility for precious cargo, and are tasked to map and report the route for the safe navigations of others. It is a moment of fraught anxiety, wrapped in excitement and optimism.

The blessing of course, is the tail wind that assists me as I begin my forward momentum. This in the form of a welcoming and supportive community, that grasps our interdependence, and has readily offered to help me get up to speed.  Add to this, that I find myself with a first class pit crew, having inherited an A-team of very industrious and vibrant individuals.

At the risk of pushing a metaphor to the point of exhaustion, while the road ahead no doubt features some steep climbs and curbs, I feel like I have reserve tanks of nitrous oxide and I just got the green flag.


Deborah Forde

Executive Director

Quebec Drama Federation


A Community Built on Exchange

One of the greatest gifts I have received as I take up the reigns, is the willingness of members to share their time with me, and to allow me to see the theatre world though their eyes. While I am no where done my exploration, I can say that our community is spiritually rich, artistically diverse, and brimming with vitality.

The other truth, is that the wherewithal it takes to produce theatre, means that folks often have their nose to the grindstone, with little time to do the kind of exploration and sharing that keeps us all connected and growing as a community.

At QDF, we are committed to facilitating and advocating excellence in English theatre in Quebec.  We do so through our services to members, our partnerships and networking with stakeholders.

In an effort to increase the visability of our community and support it’s vitality, the team is currently assessing the tools available and in use, with an eye to development. We want to encourage conversations within the community, act as a wellspring for creativity, as well as to up our game when it comes to disseminating information.

We also want to bring the wider theatre going public into the dialogue, by pulling back the curtain and sharing the bones of what we do with the goal of empowering them to play a vital role in supporting and developing a representational theatre community.

To that end, I, as Executive Director, will be posting on the view for the ED chair and what is going on between my ears, as it relates to the work we do. We will also be inviting guest bloggers to share their knowledge, perspective and development with the community through our blog.


Deborah Forde, Executive Director

Quebec Drama Federation