Thursday, 26 January 2017

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Lisa Van Oorschot

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

Lisa Van Oorschot will train in lighting design with Kimberly Purtell

(January 4, 2017) Kimberly Purtell is an award-winning lighting and set designer, working in theatre, opera and dance. I first met Kim in 2015, when I shadowed her while attending Humber's Theatre Production program (although I had long admired her work from afar). I was only with Kim for a short time, but I was so impressed by her unique design choices, her professionalism, and her generosity as a mentor—she made sure to fill me in on each step of the process and answer all of my questions (even though she clearly had a very busy job to do!) So when I heard of Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training program, I jumped at the chance to spend more time learning from her.

As part of this program, I will have the opportunity to train with Kim for ten weeks. We will be working on three very different productions, at different stages of the process: The Wedding Party (Crow's Theatre), My Night with Reg (Studio 180), and Butcher (Why Not Theatre). First up is The Wedding Party, written by Kristen Thomson and directed by Chris Abraham. I was able to visit Crow's last week, meet some of the lovely production team and check out the brand new space. On this first official week of the program, I'll be jumping right in to the focus and levels, which I am very excited about—although I've been on the technician side a number of times, I am looking forward to being able to stay on the ground and see things from the perspective of the designer (and hopefully pick up some useful tips!) 

As an emerging designer, Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program is an invaluable opportunity for me to get hands-on experience and training from an experienced mentor (and to ask all the questions I want!) There are so many things I'm hoping to accomplish in the next few months, including a better understanding of plotting, focusing and cueing, and a chance to improve my software skills on some practical projects—but mostly, I am looking forward to the chance to observe Kim's process and everything she does to contribute to bringing a play to life. I am so grateful to Theatre Ontario for this opportunity, and am greatly looking forward to all that this experience will bring.   

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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