Job Title: Artistic Director, Alberta Opera
Why He’s Top 40: He has helped Alberta Opera continue to thrive while extending his reach and raising the profile of Edmonton’s theatre scene beyond city limits.
If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “I hope that there’s an increase in arts funding. There is a difference between support and funding, and what we need is more funding.”
Farren Timoteo’s Alberta Opera career didn’t start when he became artistic director in 2006.
Three years earlier, he was cast in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk. From there, he developed a close relationship with the artistic director at the time, Garner Butler, who eventually supported Timoteo’s first Fringe Festival production. When Butler decided it was time to retire, he handed his role of artistic director to Timoteo, who was only 23 years old.
“I was overwhelmed at first and it was a steep learning curve,” says Timoteo. “But I was fortunate to be given this opportunity at such a young age. [Butler] trusted me with this role and encouraged my growth.”
Timoteo wasted no time continuing Alberta Opera’s legacy of creating original productions and touring them to more than 100 schools across Alberta. His 2008-2009 production of Little Red Riding Hood and 2011-2012 production of Pinocchio won Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Awards.
Though Timoteo won other Sterling Awards for his roles in Spamalot and Everybody Goes to Mitzi’s, winning for his Alberta Opera productions was special.
“Winning those awards for something I birthed felt like I was making a real contribution to this community,” he says.
Timoteo’s contributions to Edmonton theatre extend far beyond awards, though. He regularly volunteers with Teatro la Quindicina and bought a chair to contribute to the construction of a new Roxy Theatre.
In 2007, Timoteo took the opportunity to extend his reach past Edmonton and into the world’s capital for theatre. He was invited to be in the cast when Chris Wynters and Bridget Ryan’s The Winter’s Tale Project was taken to New York, showcasing not only Edmonton talent, but casting many New York-based actors as well.
Timoteo also teaches a class on auditioning at MacEwan University, and sees a connection between that role and Alberta Opera.
“Even in my roles in professional theatre, there’s still this education aspect,” he says. “Every production’s first day feels like the first day of school. I’m always learning as much as any of the students I get to interact with.”