Joleen Ballendine started her role as Director of Education in 2018 after serving as the Associate Director of Education for 3 years prior. Her start in Rapid Fire began in 2008 after she and her high school team won both the Nose Bowl and Canadian Improv Games in the company’s festival that would later be known as The WildFire Festival. That year she was awarded the very first Most Valuable Improvisor Award and she and her team were asked to join the cast of Rapid Fire Theatre. One year later, with Joleen at the helm, the RFT Outreach Program was born. This program that started in Prince Rupert School, an offshoot of the amiskwaciy Academy has now worked in communities like Boyle Street, iHuman, Fresh Start, John Howard Society, and many more.
Improv has taught me to be a decent human being, it would only be decent of me to pay it forward.
As Director of Education, Joleen oversees all of the educational departments within the company. She continues to run the outreach programs while overseeing both the large branches of the department such as the youth festivals run by Paul Blinov and the public workshops run by Joe Vanderhelm. Being the Director of Education also means working closely with the Artistic Director, Matt Schuurman on players’ development, opportunities, and the artistic vision for the company.
Joleen started teaching improv to give others the gift she was given. She noticed the effects it had on her own mental wellness, confidence, and connections with others and wanted others to discover the same thing in themselves. Her introduction to the form came at a very pinnacle time in her life and as a result, she has always been passionate about returning the favour.