Thursday, 1 June 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 trained in lighting design with Kimberly Purtell.

(March 29, 2017) I can’t believe it’s over! Being a part of Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program has been an incredible experience, and I am still reflecting on all that I’ve learned in the past ten weeks.
Lisa's view during tech for Butcher -
learning all about programming
effects on the Ion.

My last few weeks of the program were largely spent on the tech process for Why Not Theatre’s Butcher. This production was originally staged at the Theatre Centre, and is now being presented by Mirvish at the Panasonic. I got to work on drafting the design for the new space. It was a really interesting challenge figuring out how to make the same design work in a completely different theatre, and it was so helpful to be able to ask Kim any questions I had during the process and to get her feedback on the final result.

I also got to learn a lot more about effects, by watching the process of programming the effects for the practical led bulbs (which were used to recreate the feeling of the flickering florescent tubes used in the original production, but in a more predictable way).

I was also able to visit the Shaw Festival again, and watch part of the lighting focus at the Royal George Theatre. It was really interesting to see more of the process at Shaw, and to learn more about things like the job of the design assistants and how to work with a rep plot (the basic plot that is shared by all productions in the space). Having grown up in the Niagara Region, it was really exciting to see what happens behind the scenes at the festival where I saw some of my first productions.

The view from the stage at the Royal George
Being a part of this program has been a truly invaluable part of my education as an emerging designer. Not only did I improve my technical skills, I also improved many other skills important to success as a designer, such as problem-solving and managing multiple projects. It was so inspiring to be able to see Kim work, and to meet so many other talented artists. I am so grateful to Kim for taking the time to mentor me, and to the many other professionals I have met as part of this process for being so generous with their time and knowledge. I am also so grateful to Theatre Ontario for allowing me to take part in this program.

I'm sad that my time with the program has wrapped up, but excited about what the future holds - I'm currently working on my own lighting designs for two upcoming festivals for emerging artists, and will be putting everything I’ve learned as part of the Professional Theatre Training Program to good use. Thanks again to Kim and to Theatre Ontario for this amazing experience!

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The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is October 2, 2017.

Learn more about Theatre Ontario's Professional Theatre Training Program

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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