Monday, July 2, 2018

Meet The SHINE2018 Team - Erin Wells

Please share a little bit about who you are and what you do. 

I spent an amazing 15 years in performing arts as an actor, choreographer, writer, director and producer. Being a multidisciplinary artist afforded me a more diverse selection of opportunities within the arts - travel for example. Working abroad or at home I was impressed, curious about street culture. Working class, disadvantaged, minorities, indigenous peoples. Questioning whose stories were or were not being represented in theatre. 

Opportunities evolved in Vancouver where I wrote, taught and performed for festivals and organizations that involved Downtown Eastside issues and its community as well as mentoring at risk youth in theatre productions. It was these experiences that further sparked my interest in using my theatre background to aid people telling or changing personal stories. 

Chapters later I have found myself currently changing my career path - from studying music psychology, management and teaching voice to working within non profit for at risk youth. I have most recently begun volunteering at Directions Youth Services in Vancouver BC in the Media Arts program which is a incredible space for youth to find expression creatively and safely. The next chapter begins.

How did you meet Dean Thullner?

Hair extraordinaire with personality to boot. Dean was the first stylist I met that could carry on three conversations simultaneously and still create an amazing hair style. However, it was in talking with Dean that the shared spark and passion for arts and expression and his efforts above all in helping others that quickly became our common vocabulary. And that kept me coming back - ok and the amazing haircuts - and his tattoos.  


You are part of the SHINE2018 team. What is your position on the SHINE team and what does your work entail? 

I am the assistant stage manager and looking forward to it!

And I quote …“You are ensuring 200 models, 30 dancers, actors, models and more talent successfully get down the runways in a heartfelt community event that raises funds and awareness for mental health and addictions while addressing removing stigmas.”

What is your "why"? Why were you drawn to offer your talents in support of this specific charity fundraiser? 

I have a background and love of fashion, dance, music, theatrical performance and new forms of expression. I gravitate towards projects based on real stories and productions that pull ideas and talent from different mediums. Using my knowledge of how a show runs, the brilliant natural chaos of large productions with a myriad of many cast and crew…especially the backstage life is a way for me to contribute. This opportunity feels necessary for me - to play what part I can towards raising knowledge and funds towards this charity and the real people it effects.   


SHINE2018 has the hashstag #nostigma, and the funds raised are earmarked for programs servicing those struggling with mental illness and addiction. Was this a part of your reason for volunteering?

I spent a year as an office coordinator for an affordable therapy acupuncture clinic who’s axiom was ‘no one heals in isolation’. This was a unique environment to work in. Clients were treated in one large room not privately. The stigma of mental and emotional imbalance is isolating - witnessing clients not struggling silently or alone was profound for me to work amidst. I also organized an amazing team of volunteer receptionists at this clinic - educating them including myself about the impact of affordable therapy in a safe space cultivated interest twofold - palpably toward others wellbeing and introspectively toward our own personal values of how to create that for ourselves. It was a deep breath job that helped my own deep breaths.

Specifically mental health and addiction drew me because of the rampant siege of toxicity in street drugs and the growing number of those who end up there because they cannot find the correct help soon enough.   


What are you most looking forward to at SHINE2018 in terms of the amazing show being created?

The performers. the patrons. the past. the present. the purpose. the possibilities. the philosophy. the pomp. the pride wear. the purity. the play.

Any last thing you'd like to share?

“Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realize our need of one another”

“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good that overwhelm the world”

-Desmond Tutu


Links - 

LinkedIn - Coming

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Get your tickets as early as possible as this is a SELLOUT every year.  They are available on Eventbrite at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/shine2018-tickets-41429908973

For more information on Shine 2018, please visit their website at www.shinenostigma.ca/.


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