Job title: Drama Specialist and Program Coordinator for Western Canada High School, Calgary Board of Education
Why she’s a 2020 Top 40 Under 40: Gallichan-Lowe explores difficult themes that interest her students to create new theatre works with them, including the first-ever high-school show to be presented at the One Yellow Rabbit’s High Performance Rodeo.
Caitlin Gallichan-Lowe “wouldn’t exist” without theatre. Her parents met at the National Theatre School and enrolled her in art school. While theatre is vital to her, she believes arts education is more about empowering people’s voices than learning any specific discipline.
Gallichan-Lowe has been the only drama teacher for Western Canada High School for the last 12 years. Her job entails artistic creation and classroom instruction, including budgeting, producing, directing, designing and promoting plays, plus serving on committees and student counselling and mentoring.
Over the years, Ms. G (as she’s known) and her students have created an entire catalogue of boundary-pushing theatre works. This past year, their Revolution Or Slumber became the first high-school show in the High Performance Rodeo, Calgary’s International Festival of the Arts. Slumber deals with themes that affect her students’ lives: climate change, finding a voice, and the increasing burden on our next generation to quite literally save the world.
Gallichan-Lowe also works with Western’s gay-straight alliance and has helped to organize the annual “HomoHop” where LGBTQ2S+ youth from Calgary-area high schools gather to celebrate during Western’s in-school Pride Week. She also volunteers with Theatre Alberta’s Artstrek camp, a theatre program for kids from all over Alberta but that is particularly special for kids in rural areas who may not have access to the kinds of opportunities available to those in cities. She has also helped form an intergenerational queer-straight alliance called StrongHold to connect LGBTQ2S+ people of all ages.
“I want to do everything in my power to make sure these kids are heard,” she says. “Because we need to hear them.”