Thursday, 15 December 2016

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Erin Gerofsky

Our Professional Theatre Training Program (PTTP) offers financial support for unique and flexible training with a chosen mentor in any theatrical discipline (except performance.)

Erin Gerofsky will train in set and costume design with Judith Bowden

(December 5, 2016) In a windy Tim Horton's parking lot, over a half full cup of hot chocolate and a box of tiny furniture, Judith Bowden first mentioned applying for the Professional Theatre Training Program with me as a way to further develop my skills and network as an emerging designer. Three years later, we're finally making good on that idea! I'm beyond ready to follow Judith around for our six month long program focusing on Set and Costume Design.

Judith and I first met back in 2011 when I started as the Design Assistant at the Shaw Festival. I recall seeing her work on stage in My Fair Lady when I came to interview with The Shaw and feeling immediately connected to the way her costumes used texture, colour and period elements in such a playful way. Over my two years assisting at The Shaw I had a few opportunities to work with—or at least in close proximity to—Judith, and we kept in touch after I moved on from the festival. Due to our past shared experience and my time assisting at The Shaw, Judith and I felt moved to design a program of study to follow that would see my role less as an assistant designer, and more like a scholar; using the real productions Judith is working on as a basis of study of the practice of theatre making as a whole.

We have developed a plan of study that centres around the topics of idea creation, the director-designer relationship, and the influences that evolve a design through the creative/build process. Judith will be bringing me up to speed on the shows she has on her roster in whatever state they are in at this time: two, six or seven months away from opening, so that we can examine the process in (and on!) a variety of stages and see the effects that different environments and people have on the process.

Through our six months together I hope to further develop my skills in researching, communication, budgeting and time management, as well as of course learning all I can about Judith's creative process and practice. In return I hope to provide a sounding board, a second set of eyes, an extra pair of hands and an eagerness to help and learn all I can. I'm looking forward to further developing my skills—even the boring ones—through this incredible opportunity, and using this experience to broaden my horizons as a designer. Thank you again to Theatre Ontario and the Professional Theatre Training Program for making this possible.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2017.

Theatre Ontario’s Professional Theatre Training Program is funded by the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

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