Magnus Theatre has announced the appointment of Jordan Blaxill as the new Theatre in Education director. Blaxill is an experienced arts educator and theatre performer who has been leading the theatre’s weekend classes for children and youth since 2018.

Hailing from a long line of U.K. performers, Blaxill has been involved in performance in some capacity since childhood. His great grandfather was a music hall performer, stage magician, and puppeteer who toured for soldiers during WWII and his father’s media career meant that he spent much of his formative years in studios and around presenters. He found himself always gravitating toward the stage side of things, so theatre became a natural direction to pursue.

Blaxill studied drama at the University of Exeter in the U.K. and completed training and residencies with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Frantic Assembly, and the National Theatre in London, U.K.

Since moving to Thunder Bay in 2016, Blaxill has become a fixture of the local arts community – he regularly performs, directs and facilitates for the Cambrian Players community theatre group and the annual 10×10 Play Showcase, among others.

“I have revered Magnus Theatre for quite some time, so I’m looking forward to carrying on the great work that has been done here already,” said Blaxill. “I’m thinking about how we can continue to grow and develop to expand programming for young people, for adults, and for wider groups under the banner of Theatre in Education.”

The Theatre in Education program was formally initiated at Magnus Theatre in 1987, preceded by a long history of Young Company productions and school tours dating back to the company’s founding in the early 1970s. Magnus Theatre’s education department now operates year-round to offer professionally-instructed classes for students aged six years to adult and masterclasses for community members interested in deeper learning on specialized topics, such as scriptwriting, directing, technical skills building, and musical song interpretation. The Theatre in Education program also includes specialized drama workshops for schools and community groups, summer and spring break camps for children and adolescents, the Collective Creation Project and Young Company programs for teens, and regional Theatre for Young Audiences school tours. Some typical community outreach activities also include Meet the Playwright events and Talkback sessions for school groups and the public designed to engage with theatre creators.

“While the study and performance of plays is an integral part of any good education, there’s huge value in arts education beyond even that,” said Blaxill. “Theatre in Education programs inspire empathy and understanding in young people, and learning theatre enables us the unique perspective of walking in other people’s shoes. On a more granular level, theatre education also imparts presentation skills, collaboration, and the ability to think and overcome problems creatively. There is massive value in that.”

The Magnus Theatre in Education spring programming schedule and registration details will be released in February.

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