Pilon’s CIM students go backstage with Stratford Fest

By Nathan Mallet

Pilon’s one-year Creative Industries Management (CIM) program has teamed up with one of Canada’s most respected names in live entertainment – Stratford Festival Theatre – to provide students with a rare behind-the-scenes look at the business side of show business.

Corporate and production executives from Stratford appeared as guest speakers in CIM’s fall-semester Creative Industries Environment class to offer a real-world glimpse into how marketing, finance and management works in the entertainment sector.

Industry collaborations are the norm and help keep the curriculum current.

Stratford’s Marketing Director, Michael Adams, along with Festival Producer Dave Auster, joined virtual classes in November to share their insights into the theatre company’s roll out of a new film adaption of its 2020 stage production of Macbeth. Stratford’s re-imagining of the classic Shakespeare play was fast-tracked after live performances were cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The festival’s pivot to film served as a study in business strategy innovation. Simon Marsden, head of Stratford Production and Shelley Stevenson, head administrator also contributed to the conversations.

According to CIM Program Coordinator Jean Desormeaux, these sorts of industry collaborations are the norm and help keep the curriculum current.

“CIM students learn how to communicate effectively with both the creative and business community, working with the artist to strategize, organize, finance, negotiate, contract the creation and successful exploitation of the media product, as well as the unique artist brand that creates such media products,” says Desormeaux. “This term, [we’ve] examined the nature of the creative industries in-depth and explored how individual industries, from game design to cine-centric companies and musical artist management to transmedia businesses, are applying things like virtual production technologies and how many of the above skill sets drive the success of these various businesses.”

Other CIM partnerships include forays with TIFF Higher Learning, Hot Docs, WIFT, Cinespace Studios, CBS Productions, the ROM and the game design group Shadowfactory, among others. 

“The program is also talking to government agencies and we’re in touch with unions and guilds such as Canada’s Actors Equity guild that represents performance artists across the nation,” says Desormeaux. “But equally important, CIM benefits from Sheridan itself as an integral player in the artistic community, having partnered and mixed with our Sheridan colleagues and students at SIRT and FAAD, specifically in the game design, film and animation programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels. It’s a new, but natural pathway for Pilon.”

For more information, visit the CIM program page.  

Nathan Mallett is the Program Coordinator for Sheridan’s post-graduate Public Relations – Corporate Communications program. 

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