Diversity & Inclusion
The ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Committee began as the New Standing Committee on Equal Opportunities, founded in 1984 to address the challenges faced by the Physically and Culturally Diverse artistic community within the film and television industry in Canada. We are dedicated to initiating policies and advocating support structures in order to provide a better understanding of the need for change both within ACTRA and the industry at large.
The ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Committee is a volunteer committee made up of ACTRA members who are professionals in the media industry, supported by ACTRA staff. As committee members, we envision a better working environment and more opportunities for Physically and Culturally Diverse actors who are ACTRA members. We draw from our personal experiences as members of the Physically and Culturally Diverse community, and/or our knowledge and understanding of the administration at ACTRA to identify and articulate the contemporary challenges in order to then create policy and circumstances to support change. We will use our work to contribute to the long term goal of shifting the consciousness of colonial thinking with the hopeful outcome of an industry and association that is inclusive of all its membership no matter what culture or diverse background.
The ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Committee supports the following objectives:
- To build policy and initiatives within ACTRA that will help to create a national agenda that includes issues of Diversity.
- To liaise with the Physically and Culturally Diverse communities to help identify and articulate current challenges.
- To liaise with industry personnel to ensure that they are aware of the issues faced by members of ACTRA who are from Physically and Culturally Diverse communities.
- To initiate support structures within ACTRA that directly support the Physically and Culturally Diverse communities in dealing with these challenges.
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A Different Lens
BIPOC ACTRA Apprentices & Full members! Beef up your demo reel and book better roles! Feel like you’re missing out on roles you know you could play because your demo reel is missing quality footage? ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion has a solution!
The ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Committee are developing a new initiative to equip diverse performers with a quality demo reel scene. We all know how difficult it is to build momentum in your acting career when you’ve got the training & the talent but the opportunities are limited by your lack of demo reel footage. A strong demo reel can open doors to better auditions, good reps, and serve as a calling card for your skills & brand as an actor.
ACTRA Toronto Diversity & Inclusion Webinars
Janine Beach Q&A
Janine Beach is an attorney and strategy consultant with ten years of experience across film, television, digital media and theatre industries.Click the links below to listen to Janine, as she discusses the role an entertainment lawyer can play in your career, why and when you might need one, what we as performers should be asking for in our deals/agreements and so much more. These sessions are meant to empower our diverse membership by giving pointers on how to build their team and get what they’re worth in every contract. The discussion is followed by a Q&A.
ACTRA has created online searchable database of diverse ACTRA professional performers. diversity.ACTRAonline.ca/ is offered at NO COST to ACTRA Toronto members and our partner agents, Casting Directors and Producers, thanks to the generous support of various sponsors. Register and create your profile today!
- ACTRA Toronto sponsors films, panels and workshops at several diverse film festivals, including imagineNATIVE, Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival, Reel Asian International Film Festival, ReelWorld, and The Toronto International Deaf Film & Arts Festival.
- Casting Director Workshops & Panels
- Networking Events & Socials (Holiday Social, TIFF Party, Receptions at film festivals)
- Advocacy Projects to encourage the representation of more culturally and physically diverse members
Diversity & Inclusion Committee Co-Chairs
Lisa Michelle Cornelius is an actor, singer and film producer, with a background in advertising. After earning an Advertising Diploma from Sheridan College, she began her career analyzing the effectiveness of commercials, before deciding to star in them instead. She became an ACTRA member over 13 years ago and has never looked back.
Samora Smallwood is an actor, writer, and cool feminist. She graduated from the University of Windsor’s Theatre Arts Program with a Minor in both French and Women’s Studies. Samora looks forward to being part of a movement that is demanding more equality and diversity onscreen and in real life.