by: Nicole Companiytsev, Volunteer Administration Coordinator.
When I came in for my first shift at The Works in May, I remember how surreal it felt. I listened to the expectations and the plans – how us interns were joining the rest of the staff to ensure an entire arts festival gets put on. Amidst the excitement and vague panic, I remember thinking that before long I was going to be on the other side of this. We were being thrown into the midst of the action, and in about three months we would be looking back on this experience and reflecting on how far we’d come.
I knew that I would be on the other side of this, looking directly back on this moment of reflection, but that was a very theoretical kind of knowledge. It was very difficult to actually feel it, to believe that the festival would come together. I remember setting up the desks and staring at my inbox, unsure of how I was ever going to get off the ground.
For me, it was the people that really made it feel real. It was seeing the various departments start up and begin the process. It was meeting volunteers who are passionate about working with the festival, speaking with them as they dropped off their applications. It was the numerous people that came up to our table at the Fringe Volunteer Fair and the City Market on 104th, who asked questions and took applications and pins home. It was seeing their emails in our growing inbox. Finally, most recently, it was seeing all of the volunteers who came to our barbecue – a group of dedicated people chatting with the staff and other volunteers, learning about each other and all very excited to be there.
It’s what makes it real to me now, and I look forward to it becoming even more real as we head into festival season.
About the author: Nicole Companiytsev is a writer and director with a passion for other societies – both the real and the fantastical. She completed her Bachelor of Arts with a double major in philosophy and anthropology in 2016, and is currently studying for her Master of Arts in anthropology at the University of Alberta. She has received a SSHRC-GSM scholarship to fund her research on modern culture and science fiction. She has written and directed three plays: “Two Evenings” with Celsius Youth Theatre (2012), as well as “Dream Spell” (2013) and “Narrator Syndrome” (2014) with Graffiti Mix Arts Collective. She is currently working on a novel that explores the boundary between the human and the alien.