Aimee Bouchard: Education & Outreach Coordinator
When Aimee Bouchard (BAH’13, B.Ed.’14) was working on her BA in Drama at Queen’s University, she was hoping to combine her passion for theatre and education in her future career. Now, as Education & Outreach Coordinator for Theatre Direct Canada, one of the country’s leading theatres for young audiences, Aimee is embarking on her dream career, and she is both thrilled and grateful for the unique education she received from Queen’s Faculty of Education.
“The Artist in Community Education (ACE) program at Queen’s Faculty of Education helped me to discover there were other options than teaching in a traditional classroom. It opened up a whole other world for me.”
Designed for practicing artists in visual art, music, drama and creative writing, ACE enables graduates to qualify for Ontario College of Teachers certification. For Aimee, the ACE program fit perfectly with her plans and she thrived in it.
“The whole program was amazing but the alternative practicum in which I could imagine my dream job – and Aynne Johnston, our ACE coordinator, really encouraged us to dream big – was the best thing that could have happened to me."
Although Aimee originally wanted to go to the UK to work with the internationally renowned immersive theatre company Punchdrunk, it didn’t work out for the time of her alternative practicum and instead, she secured a placement with her number one North American choice – the education and community participation department of Young People’s Theatre (YPT) - in Toronto. This was a major stepping stone to the job she now has at Theatre Direct, as it allowed her to discover that she wanted to work in education and outreach within the world of theatre for young audiences.
“As it so happened, I was fortunate enough to go to the UK a few months later to work with Punchdrunk, and I brought with me my alternative arts education perspectives from ACE.”
Through her UK experience, Aimee was inspired with new strategies, resources and contacts. She continued to draw upon her arts education background, blending it with her passion for creating theatre to develop immersive and educational theatre experiences for young audiences. Aimee says her ACE education “has not only developed my passion as an arts educator, but has also been incredibly vital to my artistic growth as a theatre creator.”
Upon graduation, Aimee was contracted as the education and community outreach intern at the Luminato Festival. She then returned to Kingston to work with the educational Salon Theatre, creating and enacting Kingston-based Confederation era dramas, and last winter returned to administrate Kingston's highly successful inaugural Kick and Push Festival this past summer.
ACE believes in exploring the positive role that artists and the arts play in our schools, our communities, and our society. Aimee is enacting that belief as she is coordinating Theatre Direct’s school and community-based education programs, which involve more than 300 children and their families each year.
“Education is at the heart of everything we do at Theatre Direct and we strive to empower, educate and inspire through our work in schools and in the community.”
Aimee Bouchard is living proof that ACE artist-educators are securing some of the most interesting careers in arts and culture by blending their passion and talent as artists with a love for educating others.