Thursday, 17 January 2019

Stories from the Professional Theatre Training Program: Logan Raju Cracknell

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

Logan Raju Cracknell training in lighting design with David DeGrow at Cahoots in Toronto and on tour

Part 1: November 20, 2018

One of the skills I have not developed in the past through my technician and design work has been my writing skills, so for everyone reading this blog post get ready for some less-than-eloquent stuff. I am really excited to get to work with David DeGrow on Good Morning, Viet Mom. As someone who started my theatre career doing a lot more technician work than design, it was great to find a mentor who had a similar beginning to their career and I’m hoping that this mentorship helps me to further move along towards my career as a designer. One of the big things I’ve taken away from just the start of this, or pre-start I should say, is that theatre is flexible and ever changing. When I had submitted my grant originally, the production schedule—which was in, like, pre-prelim—was very loose and was looking to fall more into the period of February-March. This was getting to be a worry for me as I ended up getting a contract from February-June and was worried about the potential conflict, or how I could balance them both.

First, always talk to folks right away because then they are more likely to be flexible with things, and in this case David and I talked about how much of the mentorship could be done while I was out of the city for another Assistant Lighting Design gig. The second thing is that sometimes things work out in strange ways and a lot of the stuff we had in my original grant application was actually happening earlier than we had originally thought—so I am actually going to be around for a large amount of it.

David and I had a meeting recently to just talk about starting up with things and what I wanted from him and what he thought he could use me for. The big thing I wanted was for this experience to be treated primarily as a job, as I learn way better getting hands-on experience. I’m excited to get to do a lot of the Assistant Lighting Designer responsibilities with this show and then have David guide and suggest ways of improving on it or how to approach it, as opposed to just being shown how these things are done.

The biggest thing I’m hoping to learn from this is the work that goes into prepping a show for touring as I have had very little experience with it. It is a different beast of organization especially in situations where the designer cannot go with the show.

Part 2: December 20, 2018

Blog round two! At this point my mentorship has just started a little bit and won’t really be picking up until January. David and I met recently to talk about how we wanted to proceed with this, and I was super-thankful that he agreed to kinda throw tasks my way as if this was a typical assistantship job and then let me do those and we can talk about it after/that I could ask questions along the way. I think for myself getting the ability to learn through a work-like environment helps a lot in how I retain information and grow as an artist.

Right now the work I have done with David has been some prep work. The show I am mentoring him on is touring so we are having to work with paperwork from different venues. The prep that he had me helping with was re-drawing and cleaning up some files from one of the theatres we will be at. It was an interesting experience to see a large theatre that had files which didn’t follow industry standards and how something like that can really slow down the prep work of a designer since you cannot instantly know well what is what.

David has been a great mentor so far, has been willing to answer any questions I’ve had, and has been flexible with accommodating things such as the fact that we had to work around some changes in my own personal life with a move coming up near to when the show opens, as I’m leaving the city for a work contract.

I’m excited going forward to see more of the stuff we need to do in terms of prepping the touring aspects of the show. January is looking to be exciting as we get into the rehearsal period for the show.

The next application deadline for the Professional Theatre Training Program is March 1, 2019.

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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