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I am an apprentice… Bernadette Sweeny

FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
BS: I was an engineer. I only started in theatre at St Martins’ Youth Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia, and learned everything I knew about theatre through mentorship.

FM: What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?
BS: I have only ever applied for one theatre job in six years, all my work comes through networking. In fact I can trace nearly all of my work back to my very first mentorship at St Martins.

FM: Are there limitations to mentorship?
BS: I think that both the mentor and the mentoree have to [have the] understanding that mistakes will be made. Also the people surrounding must be aware that a mentoring process is in place, and be willing to take part.

FM: Which has greater value – self-initiated or formal mentoring – and why?
BS: I would say that formal mentorships have the greatest benefit. There is a clear indication of what the mentor and mentoree want to gain out of the partnership, there is usually a timeline in place and some sort of structure to the mentorship.

BERNADETTE SWEENEY is stage manager/production manager working with Bluebottle in Melbourne, Australia. She has been touring Back to Back’s production of Small Metal Objects around the world for the past 18 months.

Mission Statement

Multi award-winning Ruby Slippers Theatre produces provocative text-based theatre from the vanguard of the English and French Canadian canon. We further the voices of women in theatre, empowering them on and offstage, and are the only company in Vancouver whose mission includes producing the contemporary Quebecois canon in English. Our work illuminates diverse and underrepresented perspectives and social issues, inspiring independent critical thought, communion, and diversity.


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