I was thrilled when Karl Wagner of Ottawa offered a comment, unprompted, to a post about our Weekend Retreats. (As an old post, the comment required moderating which is why I am moving the conversation here. Discussions are best held in the open, but there are logistical reasons why our oldest posts have moderated comments.)
“I wish there were a weekend retreat for technical theatre (lighting, sound, special effects) for experienced people. There seems to be any number of "Introduction to..." offerings but very few opportunities in Ontario for people who are beyond the novice level to enhance their skills or get together and swap stories outside of the festival.
The only courses I have found are available through LDI (Broadway Master Classes series). There's quite a leap between community theatre and Broadway budgets. The Summer Intensive is great but tends to favour the actor/director rather than the theatre technician.”For many years, Theatre Ontario has struggled with how to deliver “off stage” theatre training, especially beyond the introductory level. Our acting and directing courses at our Summer Theatre Intensive are always popular, but when it comes to design, stage management, and administration courses, low enrolment meant we either had to run them at a loss to Theatre Ontario (which is not sustainable in the long term), or to cancel them.
The complaint that we receive when we offer these courses is about the cost. There are three main reasons for that: Advanced technical theatre training requires highly skilled instructors; They also require well-equipped venues where the artists can play; If we are to fulfill our mandate to serve the full province of Ontario, weekend or week-long courses require some sort of residential component. All of these reasons make technical theatre courses expensive to deliver. Are there enough community theatre designers interested in making that kind of personal investment in their skills?
Thanks Karl for initiating this discussion. Let’s keep it going in the comments.