Help Courtney Become a Leader

Hi all firstly thank you for taking the time to visit my page! 

If you already know me I hope reading a bit further will give you some background on why I would like your help in funding this goal.

So my background, I am originally from a small town in Northern Ontario. As a small town we were quite limited in the amount of performing arts that we were able to attend. We did, however, have a small community arts organization that brought in acts from time to time and presented productions from time to time. Seeing these productions sparked something in me and I was hooked.


From my early childhood in small town Northern Ontario to my adolescence in slightly less small and slightly less Northern, Ontario I continued to pursue my passion in performing arts. I was the technician at my home high school's small theatre running lights for the monthly student concerts and other skits and theatre productions. My interest in theatre was identified by my guidance counsellor who was also my wrestling coach. It ended up with me driving to another high school for afternoons to take drama classes at a bigger more advanced facility. 

My time in high school solidified my desire to pursue a career in performing arts, culminating in me winning the drama award, as well as lighting the spark of my goal to become a better leader, as demonstrated by my winning the Roberta Bondar Award for Leadership.

Fast forward through a 4 year honours degree in Theatre Studies at University of Guelph and a 4 month Work Study Program at the Banff Centre in Lighting and I have been working in the performing arts field for 8 years. 


My career has spanned theatre, musicals, opera, dance, comedy, live events and many more. I have had the great opportunity to travel across North America and into Europe doing what I love. Over the course of these past 8 years my career has evolved from front line worker to manager to who I am today. I have worked as a Lighting Technician and Director for touring dance companies, Company Stage Manager for international touring ballet and musical companies. I have Stage Managed for professional theatre and live events for many years  including the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

  I have used my experiences in these positions to help inform my work as a Production Manager so I can make decisions and implement policy that takes into account the needs of the people I work with. This is evident by my commitment to education, both my own and those around me, as well as my work in creating sustainable health and safety policies and procedures that can be shared throughout my industry.


In the past 4 years my career trajectory has led me to focusing on my role as a leader in the production field. I am currently working as a Production Manager primarily in Toronto and have worked hard at developing my abilities to better support my teams, my productions, and my community through professional development, education, and volunteer work. I also guest lecture at various post-secondary institutions in Production Management.


This is where you come in. I have been honoured to be accepted to a prestigious 20 month Leadership Program in the U.S. to further develop my leadership skills alongside colleagues from all around the world.  Names have not been formally announced so standby for the formal announcement of where/what this program is!


  I am so thrilled to have this opportunity but my scholarships have only covered part of my fees. As this program takes place in the US I need help to find the funding for this. I am asking you my fiends, family, family-friends, and friends of friend and family to contribute what you can and WANT to help me on my journey.

As an arts worker in Canada and the primary breadwinner in my family this cost is very impactful to my life and something I am struggling with being able to come up with. I have been working 7 days a week for the past 3.5 months, save the odd sick day and 2 days at Easter, to make up the difference but alas I am still short. I don't want this to jeopardize my ability to participate. 

  This fellowship requires a $3000 USD commitment towards the program plus covering flight costs to and from 4 different residencies in LA and New York over the next 20 months. I have been lucky enough to be awarded $2000 USD in scholarships towards these costs. What I have remaining to pay is:

$1000 USD in program fees (Due May 4th)
$500 USD flight to and from LA in June (5 day residency)
$1200 USD in additional flights over the next 20 months for which I applying for grants to support. (2x trips to Broadway in NYC and 1 additional LA residency)

I am looking for help with $1500 USD to pay my program fees and flight to my first residency. I did not find out my acceptance in time to apply for grants to help offset these costs.

I fully acknowledge that what I am asking for support for is a non essential professional and personal development opportunity.  I am not looking for a kidney transplant or trying to pay off medical bills or something else life threatening. All I am hoping is that a couple of you will want to help me get closer to achieving this goal.  Any little bit helps and is so much appreciated. 


Thanks for taking the time! And please share my story! Links can be found below



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Courtney Pyke 
Toronto, ON
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