Two-Way Mentorship


What Is Two-Way Mentorship?

Our Two-Way Mentorship program connects theatre practitioners of different generations and different disciplines from different regions across the country to lay the groundwork for a more communicative, inclusive, and compassionate professional milieu. Each person wears the hat of both “mentee” and “mentor” in this mutual or bilateral exchange of wisdom.

Participants are remunerated for engaging in guided conversations about mental health and well-being, and grass-roots, community-driven reform in the arts sector. The program aims to build bridges in these polarized times; to empower individuals to communicate across time to carve a new way forward together.

Conceived and created by Dave Ball, Alexis Gordon, Richard Lam, Amelia Sargisson and Tahirih Vejdani, the Two-Way mentorship program is now in its 3rd nation-wide iteration, with support from a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts. The program has been described by past participants as "a light in these dark times."


This mentorship program is a kind of gentle revolution. I think maybe there is a quiet revolution in community building, which is what I experienced. […] I kept finding…that in creating a larger community, in being able to create these connections with people, what we were doing was establishing best practices by creating lines of empathy which I think is probably the most effective way of changing this industry - which is ultimately what I want.” - E.C. 

“I really needed this program right now. I considered it a form of ‘artistic therapy.’ I feel like I'm at a point in my growth as a person and as an artist where this program came at the right time for me - I'm more experienced now, but still emerging; at a crossroads in many ways. It was great to be paired with people who were dealing with similar things, and having us come together to say ‘it's okay’ was nourishing.” - A.C. 

“The program is amazing. By forming this community of people through the 2-Way program, it is expanding the size and scope of the theatre community. Individual theatre artists bond and discover each other without waiting to be cast in a play to become friends and colleagues.” - M.A. 

“Having a session on transformative justice [ARCS] was so eye-opening to me. I've not only been able to identify conflict in my professional life, but give my colleagues tools to turn conflict into productive discussion and reconciliation. My partners were both of different generations than myself, and that intergenerational exchange not only made for interesting discussion, but was crucial to this program's success.” - D.S. 

“A huge takeaway for me was that despite age and experience differences we can still burble with the same excitement and passion.” - A.P. 

The experience felt so invaluable. My goal with this program was mainly to glean as much experience and information as I could from other people working in this art. I think besides doing that, this helped me realize the value in my own experience and information that I didn’t even think that I had. And so I would say I met my goal and then some, because I was able to share this mentorship so well with both of my partners.” - A.P.L. 

“What surprised me was how much I got out of the mentorship experience and how much I needed it. The pandemic has diminished opportunities for artists to gather and offer each other support and I have been craving artistic community.” - L.N.K. 

“The greatest joy was definitely having a weekly meeting with someone who understands my struggles. The consistency was instrumental in fueling my confidence, drive and inspiration. I always got out of these conversations feeling lighter, happier, more fulfilled, and ready to take on my next challenge.” - C.C. 

“This mentorship has made me so hopeful for my future, and anyone else’s in this industry. Through it, I have found community, and I have found new pieces of myself. I looked back at my initial goals for the program [and] it made me emotional because they all came true :) I found community, wisdom through differences, curiosity, and strength.” - S.C. 

“This Two-Way mentorship program was such a gift. It came at the perfect time in my life as I am entering this community and trying to build one of my own. I already miss my meetings with [my partners], two electric people who carved their own amazing paths. Although the official meetings are over, my friendships with these two will still continue.” - T.G. 

I came into the project with a goal in mind of furthering connection and spending some time thinking about what a life in the theatre can really look like- in a sustainable and real way. I definitely got that. Plus, two new pals!” - K.G. 

It was exciting – especially after three years of being in a Vancouver BC bubble – to connect with colleagues of all ages across the country. I really enjoyed the orientation as I met people of such richly varied backgrounds. I also learned a lot – particularly on the second day with the ARCS “training” – some of which I wish I’d known decades ago. I was thrilled that you organizers/facilitators had figured out a way to bring us all together, simply to talk and share and enrich each other’s lives. I looked forward to every session – and now that it’s finished, I miss it – so will simply have to make sure to continue the practise. Maybe by starting these conversations we are encouraging the silos to crumble away. Bravo for inventing this structure and for excellent facilitation.” - J.H. 

“The greatest joy was definitely having the opportunity to speak to someone who is in the industry, whom I don’t know, and being able to share experiences and opinions and ask for advice. It’s been a particularly isolating time lately and it was very nice to feel that sense of camaraderie with someone else while getting to know a cool person.

One of my biggest take-aways is that I have more things to unlearn than I thought I did, in terms of how much space I take up (or more likely, don’t) when I’m in a room or situation when I’m surrounded by folks who have been working in the industry much longer than I have.” - A.H.R.

“The act of applying for this program and being chosen for it as an emerging artist was one of the strongest sources of validation I’ve received in my field this year. It was a positive reinforcement that came at a really crucial time for me and made me feel like a worthwhile presence in the industry. The experience of being a part of the program is one that reinforced my belief in myself as an artist, and gave me a friendship with my partner that I see continuing for a long time. This has been one of my favourite things to have happened to me in the past year, and getting to meet with my partner has been beyond a delight.” - J.K.

“It’s always beneficial to have the opportunity to learn about different perspectives, and this certainly was a great way to do that. There’s a saying in the business world that you must have a mentor under 40 (to not lose touch) and I did feel that. Reflecting on how I’ve changed, adapted, grown, internalized (in both good and bad ways) and how I want to envision what we do, it was wonderful to also get feedback, challenge, and validation from someone with such different lived experience and perspective.” - D.K.

“Meeting any new person is a learning experience for me. [My partner’s] successes and challenges taught me a lot about contemporary theatre issues, being a newcomer, work possibilities and difficulties, and finding ways to share [one’s] voice. I feel that my comfort in the biz in general stems from my 54 years of ups and downs, and different positions I have had in the theatre, but I guess I have a lot of stories to share, which I have done. Many of them have been related to being an immigrant or "outsider" when I began in the theatre, and how I tried to find the community that I would fit best into as a young feminist female with strong leftist views and a passion to question authority.” - M.A.

Call for Submissions: The 2023 Two-Way Mentorship Program

Ground Floor in association with Talk Is Free Theatre is excited to launch a paid Two-Way Mentorship Program with support from the Canada Council for the Arts. Two-Way Mentorship pairs theatre practitioners of all disciplines across the country in a multi-generational, bilateral exchange of ideas, information, and experiences. In the Two-Way Mentorship model, both parties are mentors to one another, receiving and imparting wisdom in equal measure. 

Participants will meet online from September to late November 2023, and will receive an honorarium of $1,000 for 5 group meetings and 6 one-on-one meetings with their partner, over the course of 11 weeks.

We are recruiting both emerging and established theatre artists from across all disciplines. THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS FRIDAY, JUNE 30th. All applicants will receive a confirmation of receipt of their submission, and will be notified by early August as to whether we are able to offer them a mentor pairing in this round of the program. 


Attendance is required (or in the case of the ‘Green Rooms’ - strongly encouraged) for the following dates/times. Please assess to the best of your ability if you’re available in advance of applying. All events are VIRTUAL:


Please fill out this SUBMISSION FORM:


For your submission video, please answer the questions below. Given that the mentorship sessions will be over Zoom, we encourage you to simulate that here: flick on your camera, hit record, and talk to us. Keep it casual, and please no longer than 3 - 4 minutes! Refer to your notes if you want; make it up as you go along; speak to us from your heart. If you’d prefer to submit in another format, please send a voice memo, write out your thoughts, or contact us to discuss other options. 

Please link your video in the submission form as an UNLISTED Youtube link. Here’s a guide on how to do so: ( 

If you require further assistance with uploading an UNLISTED video to Youtube, please contact us. And again, if you’d prefer to submit in another format - eg. voice memo or written response - please feel free to do so. 

Thanks to all applicants for your interest. We will contact selected participants by the end of July.

For any questions, or if you require any assistance with this application, please reach out to us at We look forward to hearing from you! 

Statement of Diversity:

This program is created, administered, and facilitated by five artists from equity-deserving groups (BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+, women-identifying) who are invested in serving the needs of their communities and beyond. We encourage folks of all backgrounds and abilities to apply, and commit to co-creating an holistically inclusive environment, built up - with program participants - from the ground floor. Past iterations of this program have accommodated participants with a variety of access needs. If you require an accommodation in the application process, please feel free to contact us. We will make our best efforts to meet any accommodation requests that we receive before the submission deadline. 


Q: I have participated in a previous round of Two-Way Mentorship. Am I allowed to apply again?

A: Yes! Previous participants of the program are welcome to apply again for this current round.

Q: Are all sessions held over Zoom?

A: Yes all sessions will be held over Zoom.

Q:  Can out of town artists apply and participate in the program?

A: Yes! This is a nation-wide call. This program is open to anyone in Canada. All legal residents are welcome to apply.

Q: I am a Canadian resident but will be based outside of the country during some of the listed dates. Can I still apply?

A: As long as you can make the scheduled group sessions and the individual 1-1 sessions with your partner over Zoom and you are a legal resident of Canada you can apply.