Gateway Theatre Announces its New Artistic Leadership
Gateway theatre announces its new Director of Artistic Programs and Artistic & Community Producer
Barbara Tomasic, who has a long history with the Gateway Theatre as director, performer, and most recently as the Interim Producer, has been appointed as the new Director of Artistic Programs and Jasmine Chen, as the new Artistic and Community Producer. Chen is a performer, director and theatre creator and was an Artist in Residence in the Gateway’s 2018/19 season.
“Gateway is making a priority to explore new ways of connecting with today’s Richmond and Lower Mainland communities,” says Camilla Tibbs, Gateway Theatre’s Executive Director, “and that was top-of-mind in this hiring process. Barbara and Jasmine are both committed to community-engagement through theatre and the performing arts, and they bring different but complementary backgrounds and perspectives. The staff and board at Gateway are excited at the prospect of working with them both.
Gateway Theatre’s posting for the job of Director of Artistic Programs stated the organization’s openness to non-standard ideas as to how the role might work. While the theatre received many applications from across North America, the most exciting and forward looking one was the joint application from Tomasic and Chen, which resulted in these two positions. Tomasic’s role will be that of senior artistic leader, and Chen will focus on artistic and community engagement and add her voice to artistic decision-making.
“It’s wonderful to step into a position of leadership at an organization that was instrumental to my development as an artist and a leader. Gateway Theatre is in an exciting place right now, experimenting with innovative ways of working with artists and the community. I am thrilled to be working with Jasmine Chen and the Gateway team on its next phase of adaptivity and growth,” says Barbara Tomasic.
“It is my honour to be collaborating with Barbara Tomasic and the Gateway Theatre in connecting with and serving the richly diverse community of Richmond. I'm excited to find more ways to welcome local, national and international voices onto our stages and into our spaces”, enthuses Jasmine Chen.
Tomasic and Chen will assume their new positions in June and July 2020 respectively.
Gateway Theatre’s focus on building community relevance is a conscious one and came as a result of an 18-month engagement with US-based arts consulting company EmcArts. Gateway has been working on increasing its ability to respond to new and complex challenges, on evaluating existing structures and conventions, and on experimenting with different ways of engaging with today’s Richmond community.
Originally from New Westminster, BC, Barbara has made a career working in theatres across Canada directing, acting and producing theatre productions with companies such as Soulpepper Theatre, Western Canada Theatre, Chemainus Theatre Festival, Prairie Theatre Exchange, the Firehall Arts Centre and Gateway Theatre. She was also the Co-Artistic Director of Musical Theatreworks, developing and producing new musicals in Vancouver. As a performing arts educator, she has been on faculty at Capilano University and taught at Studio 58, UBC and Canadian College of Performing Arts.
Barbara began her relationship with Gateway Theatre in 2004 when she played Maria in the Sound of Music and subsequently became the Artistic Associate. Since then she has taught at the Gateway Academy, performed in The King and I and directed many of Gateway’s recent holiday shows including Crazy for You and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. In early 2019, Barbara became Gateway’s Interim Producer.
Barbara has an MFA in Directing from UBC and is an Ovation Award winner and Jessie Richardson Award nominee.
Jasmine is a Chinese-Canadian multidisciplinary artist whose work has engaged with communities across Canada in repertory festivals, independent theatres, site-specific spaces, regional theatres and outdoor venues. At the core of her work is her dedication to community building, compassionate storytelling, and interdisciplinary collaboration.
She is the creator of The Mother Tongue Project which was featured on CBC Arts and Fête Chinoise Magazine. Her bilingual participatory theatre piece The Gateway Language Exchange Gameshow, created in partnership with the Gateway Theatre, the Richmond Public Library and the Richmond Cultural Centre, was featured in the Richmond News for bringing together intergenerational Mandarin and English speakers.
Jasmine is a recipient of the Stratford Festival Jean Gascon Award, Toronto Harold Award, and is a Dora Mavor Moore Award Nominee.