sour-dog-theatre-3Our 2016 recipient of our Trailblazer program was Sour Dog Theatre and we are proud to say that their new website has been launched is ready for the world to see. If you don’t know about Sour Dog it is the brain child of Ali Froggatt, she is the artistic director and founder. Their philosophy is “Take risks and fail forward. Create art that matters, art that makes people laugh, and art that starts a conversation.”

Their website needed to reflect on the playful, spontaneous nature of all of the improv work that they do but also show real personality and differentiation in their field with all the theatre work they will venture into down the road. They are doing and creating things that others in that space are not exploring. A company and cast full of young artists with fresh perspectives are going to make waves and buck trends in the industry.

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Their philosophy is “Take risks and fail forward. Create art that matters, art that makes people laugh, and art that starts a conversation.”

Having a program like Trailblazer means that we can reach out to people creating cool things like this and give them a platform to stand on where it wouldn’t be possible otherwise. We started the Trailblazer Fund to give a hand up to young entrepreneurs who have an awesome business idea or emerging business. This is our second year running this program and we are always pleasantly surprised by the creativity, ingenuity and guts out there from young minds (we still consider ourselves young minds but this is 23 and under to be exact).

We have seen Sour Dog in action many times since starting the project at random events, their shows and for our own team, and it is true what Ali told us when she pitched us on her idea, that Failing Forward really does have some incredible results. Failing together, failing often, failing openly makes you resilient, brave and flexible.

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Through this Trailblazer application process we were also able to connect with Building Futures. It is a program for grade 10 students that allows them to do their grade 10 curriculum from a building site while building a house ‘on the side’. We heard about this program years ago and was blown away then, but meeting with Mark Turner, teacher, and Sherri McAllister, site supervisor with McKee Homes, blew us away even more. We were able to visit their classroom and do a little half-day workshop on marketing. The idea being to think about ways to promote and build the Building Futures program itself.

Trevor and I were absolutely thrilled and astounded to see the amazing 40 students from Airdrie and Cochrane working together, learning how their minds worked. Thinking back to our Grade 10 days we all remember having our clique, our tribe of people that we hung out with. Usually divided by sport interests, academics or musical tastes. This group had a million different interests, aptitudes and differentiators, their tribe was each other for the year. Did I mention that this program also means that 20 students from ALL DIFFERENT high schools are pooled together? It isn’t 20 of your school peers, it’s 20 applicants who made the program and really want to be there.

Be brave enough to fail early and often to get to the good ideas. To put it on paper, talk through the garbage to get to the good. – Mark Turner

At one point in the day when Mark Turner was talking to his students, with raw honesty and respect, he said that he wanted them to try things there, to think with their ‘BF Brains’ (Building Futures Brains) and be brave enough to fail early and often to get to the good ideas. To put it on paper, talk through the garbage to get to the good. Hearing that perspective so well spoken to these young adults hit a cord with us.

This program is something all kids should do once, should experience what it’s like to really work in a small team, to learn teamwork and to see what it’s like when you are around the same people all the time from totally different background to fail forward and learn how to overcome. In the end blazing your own trail in life means knowing and building all those skills, early and often.

Can’t wait to see what Trailblazers come along later this fall!