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April 3, 2018

Staff Profile: Meg Woods, Associate Technical Director

What is your job title?

I am the Associate Technical Director here at Soulpepper.

Describe a bit about the team you work with?

I’m still figuring that out actually! I just joined the company in January and my first show, Animal Farm, hasn’t even closed yet. Soulpepper has a TD (short form for Technical Director) team of 4; a TD, an associate TD, and 2 assistant TD’s. Since Soulpepper is an ever-revolving door of productions there’s no way that one person could coordinate all the elements of every show. So we rotate—each person is assigned a show and by the time it opens they are assigned another. Of course we could not do it alone! We are able to lean on our fellow TD’s at any time. We might need advice on how to tackle a specific scheduling issue or have a structural or electrical question outside our wheelhouse. We each have different strengths and insights that are put to the test with each new show we tackle.

What does your role entail?

Technical direction is a title that encompasses a lot of different aspects but if I had to summarize it into one concept it’s sort of like being an air traffic controller. We are the ones who make sure that all the different elements of the show glide into the theatre smoothly and efficiently (and most importantly safely!) without getting caught up on one another or crashing and burning in the process. We have heads of departments like Props, Paint, Carpentry, etc., but we are the ones who assess and steer the bigger picture. We work with the team to cost and price out every department, ensuring that everyone is within their budget and coordinate ways to compromise if not. We talk to designers and directors to see what is possible with the time and resources we have along with keeping everyone in the loop throughout. We need to schedule the load-in of one show while working around the load-out of another, scheduling dozens of crew hours and making the stage ready in time for the actors. Once we get everything we need to land on the runway of the stage, it’s adjusting the everyday minutia of space to allow for creative growth and settling the play into its new home in time for the audience!

What is the best part of your job? And what are you most looking forward to at Soulpepper in the next few months?

This is going to sound really cheesy but since moving to the city a few months ago I was really worried about leaving all my family and friends. I was anxious about what the atmosphere at my new work place was going to be like. Calling my first day a bit rocky would be a huge understatement. It was chaos – and I was worried that I had made a huge mistake. But since then I have seen so much growth and motion towards change within the company. I have met some really great people and established a new support system that feels really genuine and very strong. There’s a new awareness in the building, and I’m really excited to be part of it. I’m also excited to see how the company uses the catalyst of finding a new Executive and Artistic Director as an opportunity to rebuild and grow. To improve the company as a whole. I’m really looking forward to that!

What are 3 fun facts about you? 

I am left handed, I have been skydiving and I’m an air hockey master!