The Japan Foundation
Performing Arts Network Japan
Presenter Interview
CINARS, over a quarter of a century  The vision and accomplishments of founder Alain Pare

*1 Over the last 25 years, CINARS has held over 100 workshops, round tables, training seminars in Canada and abroad to teach artist agents and managers about developing overseas markets and impart know-how to the artists about touring abroad. In December 2008 a five-day intensive seminar titled “Stakes, ingredients and strategies for international touring” was held in Montreal.
The changes in CINARS over the course of 25 years

Can you tell us what changes have taken place in CINARS over the last 25 years?

Ten years ago we received a lot of criticism from CINARS foreign participants. They said, “We bring a lot of Quebec and Canadian artists to our countries but Canadians presenters don’t invite our artists to perform in Canada.” They were exactly right. Canadian presenters were also saying, “We don’t need to go to CINARS because we already know about the Canadian artists.” So we changed our policy and began inviting more international artists to CINARS so Canadian presenters could see them and create mutual relationship during the platform. In 2008 CINARS Platform, the ratio of artists in the showcases was 40% Quebec, 20% from the rest of Canada and 40% from abroad.
 We don’t want CINARS to be a Canadian platform. We want it to be considered as an international platform. We want it to be a place where presenters from all countries can come to Montreal and meet artists from many countries, not only Canada, and discover their works. CINARS is held every two years in Montreal, so, we are positioning ourselves as a central place for networking. Also, when artists from all over the world get together, they interact and stimulate each other, which is important for the artists of Quebec and Canada as well. When we created CINARS in 1984, our purpose was strictly focused on exporting Canadian artists’ works abroad, but now, that has evolved into a bigger vision.
 From a few years ago, I can see the progression of the new generation that is growing up in numbers, not only in Canada but everywhere. New trends are represented in all aspects of performing arts: a new generation of artists, the works, the presenters and the public. Just as the people of my generation brought in new trends 20 years ago, I can feel that this new generation is now giving birth to new trends in the same way. Right now, I think that many artists are searching for new things and experimenting a lot. Some of it is interesting and some of it isn’t, and that is just fine. We must accept that and continue to support them. I think that we are going to see big change soon. It may come from Japan or Italy or other countries, and it may be influential enough change the whole picture.

We have noticed that CINARS is focusing on “training” recently. Can you talk about programs in this area?
A few years ago, I realized that almost all of the artist’s agents and managers around me, and also the directors of dance, theater and circus companies are people like me who are around the age of 50 or 55, getting old. I realized that this is a problem. The older generation needs to find a way to transfer the experience and expertise to the younger generation. We need to teach them how to promote their creations in order to export their work and help the artists to prepare touring abroad. Thus, in 2009, we organized a twice a “five-day training seminar.”(*1) The training seminar was designed for small groups of about 20 people. Professionals explained in detail marketing plans, strategic planning skills and fund developments (including grant research and writing) and promotional activities. In my generation, we had to learn by ourselves, by trials and errors, but we thought that it would be better to help the younger people. By teaching them what we have learned, we wanted them to be more prepared for their work. Those seminars went very well, and now, we have seminar sessions every year with new groups of people. What is also interesting to see is that during the course of this training seminar, some people realize that this is not the field they want to work in. Normally, people realize such things after a couple of years of hands-on working experiences. So, we are saving them a lot of career time for trial and error. We are also receiving requests from abroad to organize such training programs as well. Last January, we had seminars in Finland and Norway. We also received requests from Spain and South Korea, and we expect to do workshops and seminars in Japan too.
 In our office, we generally are talking to two or three companies’ representatives a week and they ask for advices. They might say, “We want to do a tour in Italy.” So, we ask them what kind of work they do and they say, “We do theater for young people.” Then, we give them a contact that we think will be appropriate.
 We also tell them that rather than just sending an email or a DVD they should actually go to Italy and meet the people face to face. It is important to start from there.
 One of my advices is that they should plan well to avoid wasting a lot of energy, money and time.

Do you provide that kind of consulting year-round free of charge?
Yes. We have funding from the government to cover staff salaries, so we can provide this kind advice for free. We say to artists that if they need any support in terms of information, technical support and strategic planning or anything else, they can come to meet us anytime.

How large is your current staff and budget?
There are five people working for CINARS and since our Platform is held every two years, our budget varies between a million Canadian dollars for the Platform year and 500 to 600 thousand dollars for the year in between. For the organizing body of an event of our scale, I think it is a rather small budget.
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