The Race To Find A Place (& Happiness)

Hallo friends!

Sorry for such a long gap in between posts, but I have been as busy as can be! I’ve restarted this blog post 5 times now! So let’s just jump right in then, shall we?

I finished up my last TD gig for the season at the Gateway Theatre on on April 26th.  Don’t Dress For Dinner was a tri-production between Thousand Islands Playhouse, Western Canada Theatre and the Gateway.  It was a bit of a throwback to my days at the Opera in Edmonton, where we would receive a set and get a set supervisor (who had put it together at least once before) to come in and help us assemble it.  Once the set was up, we went into tech and this is where it was a little different for me.  Because the show had gone up twice before, we had the opportunity to kind of sit back and watch the actors, assistant director and Stage Management team bring it back to life.   Once the lighting had been patched and the levels had been set,  my crew fell into their backstage roles and as always, I left after opening night.  That is one of the things I prefer about working in Production Management rather than Stage Management.  Once the show is up, you get to go and leave it in the capable hands of someone else — and start on something else.

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My view from the House : Left to Right :Todd Thomson as Bernard, as Alison Deon Jacqueline; Directed by Ashlie Corcoran & Assistant Directed by Heather Cant; Set Design by : Jung-Hye Kim; Lighting Design by : Oz Weaver;  Costume Design by : Cindy Wiebe

On April 20th I had my first day back at the Arts Club, as their Assistant Technical Director for Billy Elliot the Musical.  The Arts Club has always had a special place in my heart — it’s where I got my start here in Vancouver — and I was over the moon to be headed back there.   I just finished my stint with them last Thursday, but I’m so happy to announce that they’ve hired me back as the ATD for next season from mid September until the end of March! It’s a new position — which in itself is super exciting! — where I’ll have the opportunity to work with all 3 Technical Directors, as well as the Director of Production.  What has me most jazzed about this job is that I’ll get to learn from all sorts of different people with different backgrounds, techniques and experience.  Oh and get to work on… MARY POPPINS!!! I mean, come on!!! Dreams really DO come true.

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Massage train to de-stress mid-day.  Alberto (Tour Tech), Phil (Stanley House Sound Tech), Eugenio (My boss, Technical Director)

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The makings of the Miners Hall Christmas Wall — Set Design by Ted Roberts. 

Anyway. Back to my busy life.  You might be thinking “Well Patsy, that’s only two jobs that slightly overlapped, it couldn’t be that hard”, but I was also stage managing the Lawyer Show!

The Lawyer Show is a fundraiser for Carousel Theatre for Young People and Touchstone Theatre here in Vancouver.  It’s co-directed by the Artistic Directors from both companies, Carole Higgins and Katrina Dunn, and the design work is left to a group of young professionals.  It’s a great opportunity for people just starting out to gain some real world theatre experience after post-secondary, and just a fun project to work on.  This year’s production was Hairspray, one of my all time favorite musicals/movies.  We rehearsed 3 nights a week for about three months and were fortunate to have a completely sold-out four show run in early May where they managed to raise over $86,000!! Great job to everyone involved. I miss your singing and dancing faces already!

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Front row L to R : Jerry Lecovin, Keri Bennett, Shahdin Farsai, Mark Wolfe, Sean Vanderfluit, Rhona Lichtenwald, Rob Burns, Katie Comley, Bahareh Danai, Kerry O’Donnovan (Musical Director / Keyboards). 

Second row L to R : Sonali Sharma, Jonathan Braun, Paul Kressock, Cobi Dayan, Johanna Goosen, Farah Malik, Kaitlyn Meyer, Patrick March, Parnelli Parnes, Nicole Clarke.

Back row L to R : Lindsay Goldberg (Trumpet), Cappone D’Angelo (Guitar), Mark Slay (Drums), Jen Arnold, Alexandra Mitretodis, Michael Bain (Bass), Jack Wright, Elizabeth Reid, Liam Kearns, Dani Lemon, Stephen Robertson, Linda Leong Sum, Roger Watts, Benjamin Buckingham, Lindsay Williams, Julia Law, Vista Tretheway, Dulce Amba Cuenca. 

Set Design : Nikolay Kuchin; Costume Design : Kiara Lawson

In between all of these jobs, I also did some freelance work for the Gateway Theatre as a production assistant and then with Urban Ink Productions as a producing coordinator.  Always better to keep busy, right?

When all of these projects came to an end on May 12th, I felt a sigh of relief as it was a lot of pressure all at once.  I took a couple days to go on my Toursim Challenge adventures (more about that later!) and then a day to just unwind.  But then.. I started on all of my new projects!

The first is a project with the Aboriginal Non-Profit sector of British Columbia.  I’m working with a woman I met through my work at Urban Ink named Joanne Veltri.  Her background is in the world of Sports as well as the fund development / sponsorship kind of realm, and she’s worked all over the place! For the Olympics, APTN, events, her own ventures and she’s just an all around great lady.  I’m not sure how much I can disclose at this point so in that respect I’ll keep it all in, but stay tuned for some updates as we go! I’ll be working on this project over the next year and I’m very much looking forward to meeting a whole lot of people around beautiful BC, and learning more about my culture.  A big part of this project is that it’s a mentorship program and I’m thrilled at the opportunity to learn from someone with so much experience in so many different areas.

The next project that starts in late June, is a Technical Director / Production Manager gig for the Rumble Tremors Theatre festival.  Having never done something of this calibre before, I am, admittedly, a little intimidated. But I think that’s a good thing as it keeps me on my toes. The festival runs from August 11th-21st at the Italian Cultural Centre on Grandview Highway, so come on and check it out and support your local artists, my fellow Vancouverites!

Finally, the last project. One that is top secret and I can’t talk about.  It’s a terrific opportunity to work on something new and exciting, and most importantly, for someone that I’ve been admiring for years.  I’m being given the opportunity to choose what facets of the project I want to be involved with in order to further my career, and really, I could not ask for more than that.

So now onto the actual point of this post…

I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I spend a lot of time thinking about my career.  It’s a very important part of my life and since I spend most of my time working, it should be doing something that fulfills me and makes me happy, right? Because of this, I often ask myself a lot of questions.  What do I want to be doing long term? How can I get there? What can I do to improve myself? What skills do I want to acquire? What am I doing with my life? How do I compare to other people my age? (Dumb, but it happens) It puts unnecessary pressure on me but it also motivates me to keep going.  A bit of a catch 22 I suppose. 

For the first time in a while though, I’m feeling pretty relaxed about it.  I don’t know *exactly* what the next year will bring me, but no matter what, it’ll be full of valuable lessons along the way, and for that I am grateful.  All the various projects I’m involved with will help enhance my current skill set and give me a chance to learn new ones from people who are willing to take me under their wings and I can only get better from here on out.

So I guess my last bit is this… Maybe you’re feeling like you don’t know what you’re doing, or that you’re not pursuing the right career, or that you missed the boat, or just plain old don’t like the path you’re currently on.. Well let me tell you, you can change it.

It’s been tough and I’ve been lucky to have supportive friends and loved ones —  not to mention an incredibly devoted mother who has squealed in delight every time I call to tell her of a new opportunity — to guide me through my crazy adventure. Maybe you don’t have that support system, or a clear idea of what your end goal is, but if you want something bad enough, you gotta bust through the doors, ignore those who try to bring you down, go after whatever it is you want and give it your all!

Finally, last dose of inspiration for you… I met a woman in December who had quit a high powered (and salaried) job the year before to become a pastry chef. She’s now making minimum wage and has to get up at 3:30am to be at work, but she’s really, truly, very happy — and isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day? So if you are feeling stuck, like you don’t know what to do, like it’s time for a change, then figure out how to get there! And do whatever it takes. Work 60-80 hours a week. Read everything you can on the subject. Take some classes. Connect with people in those jobs. Figure out how you can get there, and get there.  I believe in you!

Well that’s it for me. Time to go sign a contract, go on a geocaching test for a friend and then off to the opening night of Billy Elliot!

Have a great rest of your week everyone, and remember to be kind to one another.  You never know who’s day you might be making.

Peace&Love.

p.

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