Mentorship and Revolution: Meet Izzy Bergquist

We sat down with Izzy Bergquist, one of our 2020 Nordic & Cloutier Family Innovation Award recipients. This annual award provides one local artist, group, or company with up to $2,500 in funding towards professional development, training, innovation, and/or special project development.

Izzy Bergquist (she/her) is an Edmonton-based theatre artist and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre, majoring in Stage Management from the University of Alberta. Over the last few years, she has established herself as a local Stage Manager and has had the pleasure to work with fantastic companies and festivals here in Edmonton. She is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to study and practice dramaturgy with Dana Tanner-Kennedy in the Studio Theatre’s upcoming season’s production of “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” directed by Suzie Martin.


This award provides you funding toward innovation and special project development. Tell us about your project.

This project is presenting me with the opportunity to study and practice dramaturgy under the mentorship of the fantastic Dana Tanner-Kennedy. I have the opportunity to work as co-dramaturg on “Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again.” at the Studio Theatre in the upcoming 2019/2020 theatre season.


Tell us a bit about your background in theatre and the Edmonton arts community.

I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre, majoring in Stage Management, at the University of Alberta in 2018. Through my degree and over the last year, I’ve worked in stage management in both independent and larger scale theatre. Outside of my work in theatre, I produced a house-concert series for classical musicians called MaisonMuziek.


What made you decide to focus on this particular project?

When the director Suzie Martin approached me and invited me to be a part of the process, I couldn’t have been more excited. She and I have a rich friendship and working relationship. Suzie is aware of my interest in dramaturgy, and in the past has often included me in research/dramaturgical conversations about projects in her life. I specifically chose to work on this project because not only do I get to work with one of my dearest friends, but I get the opportunity to learn dramaturgy from Dana who was one of my biggest mentors through university. Essentially, I get to work on a piece about feminism and women (which is dear to me), with two of the most intelligent and driven people that I know.


How do you hope that this experience will benefit your artistic practice?

Through my experience producing house concerts and my work in theatre, I have discovered that I have interests in addition to stage management that are directed towards research and accessibility. As I develop as an artist, my interests have become more focused on how a theatrical piece can be shared with a community to its richest and fullest potential. This project gives me the opportunity to indulge in those passions, and dive into a field that I’ve admired from a distance for years.


Tell us a bit about your mentor and the hopes for your upcoming mentorship.

Dana has been an important mentor of mine since my first semester of university. She currently teaches in the Department of Drama at the University of Alberta and in the Summer Conservatory for Actors at Yale University. I’ve learned from Dana in the context of a classroom, or in passing conversations, but what is most exciting about this project for me is that I get to learn alongside Dana and immediately put to practice what I am learning for the first time. Both Dana and Suzie have carved out an important place for me in the centre of this process, which is giving me the opportunity to really dig in.


What is the long term goal of your project?

Essentially, my hope is that what I learn through this project will help to diversify my skills as a theatre practitioner. Not only will this personal development prepare me to work as a dramaturg, but it will also enrich my future work in stage management and any other position on a theatrical production.


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