Theatre marketer lands big award
Marketing co-ordinator Troy Funk to take home Margaret Mooney Award
Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am
It’s difficult to stump Troy Funk. He’s a quick thinker who always presents well thought-out replies.
But when Funk attended the invitation-only announcement for the Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards nominees on Monday, June 2, he was left dumbstruck and red-faced.
Unbeknownst to him, the hosts divulged he was slated as the 2014 recipient for the Margaret Mooney Award for outstanding achievement in theatre administration. The awards will be given out June 30.
“I was surprised, stunned and shocked,” said Funk. “I thought I was just hanging out with friends.”
It seems a chunk of Edmonton’s theatre community secretly knew about his nomination and more than half a dozen friends conspired to make sure he would attend.
As senior marketing co-ordinator for St. Albert’s cultural services department, Funk juggles dozens of shows, taking care of multiple details while developing strong relationships with artists, managers and media as well as peers and supervisors.
A graduate of Victoria School of Performing and Visual Arts, he’s worked in arts administration for more than two decades – 13 of them for cultural services.
In that time, his serene yet jovial personality has established long-lasting contacts locally and worldwide. And with a few exceptions, most have remained loyal friends.
One of his early employment stops was at the Citadel Theatre, where he met Margaret Mooney. A sharp woman who did not suffer fools gladly, Mooney was the Citadel’s company director from 1965 to 1998.
“She was one of those people that knew everyone inside and outside across Canada and internationally. She’s an encyclopedia of theatre and the go-to person for what you needed. She was feisty and eccentric in the best way, and an amazing visual artist,” Funk said.
Fresh from the whirlwind of the International Children’s Festival, Funk said this award allows him to de-stress and take a few moments to travel down memory lane.
“I have high school friends who heard and have contacted me and reconnected through Facebook,” Funk said.
“It’s an amazing thing to be acknowledged for the work I’ve done over the years. You work hard, but you don’t always get what you hope for – putting bums in seats. But I’m proud to be recognized. Now I have a few weeks to agonize and think of something profound to say.”
Also on the Sterling nominee list is Legal actor-playwright Joëlle Préfontaine for her play Récolte, a bilingual production that received its world premiere at L’Unithéâtre in 2013.
“I was quite surprised to be nominated but happy. To be in the same category as Brad Fraser is incredible, and Stewart Lemoine is an amazing writer,” said Préfontaine, who is largely drawn to provocative theatre.
“For three years I lived in a little bubble while I was writing by myself in my home office. I had all these ideas bubbling in and out, and I was always trying to justify when to use English and when to use French. It made me appreciate the literary arts in a way I never did before. It was really blood, sweat and tears.”
But a break came her way after scoring a berth at the Banff Centre play development centre where mentors helped shape the final silhouette. Not only was Récolte produced in Edmonton, but it also received a play reading at the National Arts Centre.
Two additional St. Albert nominees are Jenny McKillop and Kate Ryan. McKillop is nominated in the Outstanding Fringe Performance by an Actress category in Marvellous Pilgrims, and Ryan is nominated as Outstanding Fringe Director for Little Fish.