Been waiting a while to talk to Renate Pohl, and glad it was finally able to happen.
Renate is an assistant professor and resident designer with the BFA (Theatre) program. If we go way back, I first met Renate while she was still a student at Grenfell and, if memory serves, during my first teaching term appointment with the program. And though Renate did the acting program, she later became a theatre designer, mainly lights, and we’ve worked together a number of times.
The interesting part of this story though (certainly one interesting part of this story) is how Renate came to be interested in the space program. Her work with the International Space University is fascinating and we cover a lot of ground in our conversation. I’ve been thinking a lot about design (not just theatre design, but design more generally speaking) but Renate is miles (light year?) ahead in her thinking and working in designing for the unforgiving conditions of space. Her commitment to this is awe-inspiring.
You can find Renate’s website here, and is @geekyglass on Twitter.
You can find out more about ISU (the International Space University) right here.
Ian Sutherland is dean of the School of Music at Memorial University and was on the west coast for a couple of reasons, including to attend Grenfell’s convocation ceremonies and I’m glad he found time to record this episode of the show.
Ian and I started as Memorial deans at around the same time and it’s certainly been great for me to be able to share that experience with Ian and for our two Schools to continue to find ways to collaborate and work together. The fact is, Memorial’s two ‘arts’ Schools are separated by nearly 700km of geography and that can make things, well, difficult. Ian has been a tremendous collaborator and kindred spirit.
One of the exciting projects I’ve been happy to work on is an “Arts Innovation Strategy” for Memorial, a strategy that looks to foreground notions (and practices) of creativity to the innovation agenda (something the provincial government has also begun to explore) as well as encourage us to work in more meaningful ways with our communities.
Memorial’s School of Music is world-renowned and you can find more about all that they do and offer here.
We also mention that the province, through the Department of Culture, Tourism, Industry and Innovation, is devising a new cultural plan for the province. I encourage you to take part in that process, either by attending the public sessions being hosted around the province, or write into the department with your ideas. More on that here.
Robert Chafe was in town before Christmas, on tour with “What Was Needed Most”, a collaborative project with The Tuckamore Music Festival. As Robert explains, it’s a difficult show to sum up in a few words – ostensibly monologues set to music, Robert explores issues of Newfoundland’s confederation with Canada, it’s a tremendously heartfelt piece that’s as much about family and legacy as anything else.
And it’s set to music! The Tuckamore Festival is dedicated to chamber music, and What Was Needed Most features new compositions by Duane Andrews, Bekah Simms, and Aiden Hartery.
I can’t say enough good things about the piece, and while the tour is long over, if you ever do get the chance to see it, do it!
Robert is also the Artistic Director of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland, and you can find out more here.
Tuckamore is under the Artistic Directorship of Nancy Dahn and Tim Steeves, and you can find out more about all that they’re up to right here.
I hesitated very briefly before posting this episode; the project that Ruth and Allison talk about with the Faculty of Medicine has been put on hold (temporarily, we all hope). But in listening back to the conversation, we cover a lot of other ground, including verabatim theatre and ‘collective creation’ and really think it’s still an interesting enough chat on its own terms (and hope you do too).
Ruth and Allison are also doing tremendous things in the theatre/film scene here in the province, and I was really very happy to spend the time talking to them, and sharing that with all of you.