World Tour: Summer at the Banff Centre

After three months away, it is hard to believe I am back in Melbourne already. For the last stop on my 3 month study tour, I spent any amazing 6 weeks at the Banff Centre. Literally situated amongst the mountains of the Canadian Rockie’s the shear magnificence of the Centre’s natural environment is inspiring in itself – there is a reason the Centre’s motto is “inspiring creativity”.  The Banff Centre is a unique place, that  runs professional development  programs across a range of artistic disciplines.  It is a place  where students and young professionals from across Canada and the world come to hone their skills

In my time at the Banff Centre, I  participated in their Summer Work/ Study Program in the theatre department.   My program involved being a lighting assistant for Canadian lighting designer, Harry Frehner on a new Canadian opera “Lillian Alling”. Lillian Alling, is based on the story of a Russian Immigrant who walked from Brooklyn across the Rockies to Canada. t is exciting to be able to work on a new work about such an amazing woman.

Photos of Cosi Fan Tutte and Lillian Alling

Being at the Banff Centre, has been quite an experience. For one, I have never worked on a project with so many other people- it was quite exciting to be on stage with 20 – 30 other people all busily constructing sets, making costumes and hats and  hanging lights. One of the best things about being at the Banff Centre, is the sense that people had time to make the work and teach, which is a rare treat.  Being around the theatre full time for six weeks, has its advantages.  There was always someone who could answer a question or sit down and explain some piece of equipment to me.  In fact, some of the most beneficial moments of my time here have not be scheduled parts of my program; they have been afternoons I have spent with electricians learning how to program boards,  playing with lights or looking at fabric and costumes.  It is rare that you get the chance to play and experiment with different things and I was lucky enough to have time to do this at The Banff Centre.

Best of all, I left the Banff Centre with a new confidence and some great new friends.   After all wonderful things I have seen and done over the last few months I feel inspired to be home and create some work.