If you’ve ever attended a concert, play or performance at one of Alberta’s Jubilee Auditoria, you might wonder about what goes on behind the scenes to put on such amazing performances. For the last four years the Jubes have hosted the Backstage Access Production Expo, an opportunity for high school students, post-secondary students, non-profit regional theatre and church groups to head backstage and learn from the best in Alberta.
We caught up with the Director of the Jubilee Auditoria, Leanne Smoliak to tell us all about it.
“Backstage Access is the Jubilee’s way of sharing our knowledge and providing opportunity for networking and education.
“The event featured a trade show with over 30 theatrical equipment manufacturers from across North America as well as education sessions on such topics as Theatrical Lighting, Theatrical Audio, Stage Management and Design.”
While the session was only a day, Leanne and her team managed to pack in sessions that appealed to almost every aspect of the theatre community.
“Many of the regional venues that attend were interested in the ‘Roadhouse Roundtable’ which is directed towards venues in southern Alberta that book produced events like a play or other performance. It was great because it gave the delegates the opportunity to meet with their peers in the industry and discuss common issues in a facilitated environment.
“Our special guest for the ‘Roadhouse Roundtable’ session was Janet Sellery from Sellery Health and Safety, who discussed measures towards a safer theatre and best practices to move forward after an incident. She provided some great insights into challenges and opportunities related to improving safety in our theatres.
“Of course, a big draw of Backstage Access is the Workshop Sessions which featured sessions on Lighting, Audio and Stage Production. We even had a session on ‘Tales From The Road’ where stories of travelling the world with a touring production were told with great gusto. These sessions were facilitated by Jubilee staff and some invited guests and were geared to groups from high school age to ‘old pros.’ There was something for everyone.”
With a room full of lighting and effects masters, an Expo like this wouldn’t be complete without a dazzling demonstration, and the vendors certainly delivered.
“More than 30 vendors showed off their latest in equipment, providing attendees an opportunity to see it all in action. This was a particular hit for the students who have not seen theatrical equipment of this caliber. They were provided an opportunity to speak to professionals who have new and emerging equipment and technologies, also allowing a ‘hands on’ experience.
“One never knows, will some of these students become our theatre techs of the future?”
We certainly hope so.