Beats + Intentions 2014

Expect Theatre's Laura Mullins and Chris Tolley hold auditions for Emerging Inter-Arts Ensemble

This year, Toronto's Expect Theatre is launching the Emerging Inter-Arts Ensemble, a pre-professional training program that cultivates young artists interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts. Supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation for three year's funding, the ensemble's first project, Beats + Intentions, is open to diverse emerging artists 25 years of age and under from the Greater Toronto Area, particularly from the priority neighbourhoods of Regent Park, Parkdale, Rexdale/Jamestown and Kingston Galloway/Orton Park.

Participants receive mentorship to build their artistic skills, and will also learn about the business side of the arts from industry experts. They will also collaborate to create an original multi-disciplinary work that will be presented to the public at the end of the program. This is a free program, participants are shortlisted through an audition process and they will also receive an honourarium upon successful completion of the program.

Here, we chat with Expect Theatre co-artistic directors Laura Mullins and Chris Tolley to find out more about this exciting opportunity.

Theatromania: Tell us about Beats + Intentions. What inspired this project?

CT: For seven years we worked closely with the Jamestown community in north Toronto on an arts festival called urbanNOISE. This festival brought together local, emerging artists with world-renowned performers such as Drake and Jully Black to create and showcase art that empowered communities. While working on urbanNOISE we discovered a rich tapestry of young artists that were brimming with talent, enthusiasm and passion. While they possessed an abundance of raw talent, they were missing a high level of training that would give their artistic abilities the polish required to make them world-class artists. In addition, they were also lacking exposure to the business side of the artsthe knowledge needed to be able to turn their dreams into reality. Beats + Intentions was devised to help fill these voids. Our goal is to empower emerging artists by giving them the mentorship, training and business know-how to turn them into the next cultural leaders.

Theatromania: What criteria are you looking for in potential participants?

LM: We are looking for artists that have a distinct point of view and a real passion for their work. Naturally, we are also hoping to find performers who have natural talent and skills, but we also want to work with unique individuals who have something special to bring to the project. Our main focus for this year will be music, dance and videohowever we don’t want to discourage any performer from auditioning. At the end of the program we will be creating a multi-disciplinary showcase and will we have certain parameters that we have to follow, but we’re allowing room for creativity and spontaneity. So if someone out there thinks they have something to contribute in any performance-based discipline, bring it.

Theatromania: What advice would you give hopefuls looking to audition? 

LM: It sounds cliché, but we really want to see the real person behind the performer. We want an opportunity to get to know them and to see if we can collaborate together. Everyone will have 2-3 minutes to perform whatever he or she choses, but the rest of the time we just want the opportunity to get to know the person and find out what they’re looking for from the experience. This is a new project and there is a lot of discovery to be made on both sides of the table. We really look forward to realizing its potential together.

The program runs in February and March 2014 at COBA studios in Regent Park, with a final presentation on March 15 and 16 at the Citadel Theatre, Toronto. Participants will have the opportunity to continue receiving mentorship for an additional four months after the performance on a project of their choice.

Auditions will be held in January 2014 (details below). Program begins in February and selected participants will be notified by January 31st.

Sat. January 18 @ The Albion Library | 12pm-5pm 1515 Albion Rd. (Rexdale)

Sun. January 19 @ COBA Studios | 11am-5pm Daniel Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East # 130 (Regent Park)

Sat. January 25 @ East Scarborough Storefront | 11am -5pm 4040 Lawrence Ave. East (Scarborough)

Sun. January 26 @ Pia Bouman Studio | 11am-5pm 6 Noble St. (Parkdale)

*Registration required, contact Roshanak at for more information visit



Bill Coleman – Dance
Andrew Craig – Music
Nicola Pantin – Dance
Chris Tolley & Laura Mullin – Video

Business of the Arts:

Dalton Higgins – Networking & Business Development
Sue Edworthy – Marketing & Branding
Roshanak Jaberi – Grants & Sponsorship


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