Job Title: Executive Director, LitFest; Program Coordinator, Alberta Podcast Network
Fawnda Mithrush gets emotional recalling summers managing the Freewill Shakespeare Festival through torrential rains and mosquito plagues — from her “office” in her late dad’s motorhome parked on the hill looking down at the amphitheatre.
Marshall Mithrush was an arborist. Leafy Hawrelak Park was a fitting spot for his RV.
“They totally took a chance on me and it was just the best job ever. I got back into the arts community and loved the challenge of trying to figure out where talking about the arts and doing the arts connect,” says Mithrush.
She’s been a champion of Edmonton’s arts scene since her childhood days acting in school plays and Ukrainian dancing. “I always liked live production — having an audience, having people experience something together.”
She used to write for weekly arts newspapers, and now serves as executive director for the non-fiction festival, LitFest.
“My favourite times are after the show when the audience is buzzing, lining up to get their book signed and you hear them talking about it,” she says.
The event epitomizes Mithrush’s efforts to create accessible environments for art to thrive.
“It’s about making spaces for those conversations, not just on a stage but in the lobby and in the car on the way home and in the pub afterward.”
Mithrush attributes her role as an arts “booster” to a lifelong craving for stories, in whatever form they take.
“I will follow an artist or a company or an author, just to see where their story goes. It’s satisfying to see the trajectory of people, especially locals.”