October 30, 2012

Spotlight on Alumni: Alistair Hepburn

Please tell us about what you're up to these days, and about some of the most exciting work that you've done since graduating.

After spending the last 5 years as the Director of Production at Canadian Stage, I took a leap and went into business for myself. Currently I am a Freelance Production Manager about town working with companies like Acting Up Stage, Ross Petty Productions, Luminato, Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company, Queen of Puddings, Art of Time Ensemble and April 30th Entertainment.

What was the most challenging aspect or experience of training/studying at York?

Convincing myself that it was okay to not be an actor. I had come to York to act. I had busted my butt to be in the 4th Year Production of Midsummer Night’s Dream in my 1st year (there may even be pictures of me, half naked, rolling around as a Faerie), and to convince myself to take a leap into another world was very challenging. I’m glad I did, and have never looked back (although if you ask my colleagues, they’ll tell you I do enjoy an audience).

What is your fondest memory of studying Theatre at York?

The people. Late nights in the design studios, the light lab and of course, The Absinthe.

Burton Auditorium Burton Auditorium

What was your favourite place at York?

Burton Auditorium. The levels, the catwalks, the oddly shaped thrust with an off centre vomitorium…so fantastic!

What did you do for the first summer out of the program?

The day after graduation I started at Canadian Stage working for the Dream in High Park. I was hired as a Sound Operator having never run sound in my life!

Do you have any advice or tips for York students just entering the dept.?

Make friends, get involved and listen. Every once and a while, just shut up and listen. There are lots of people there with tons of knowledge to share if you are willing to listen.

Do you have any advice or tips for York students just about to graduate?

Follow the leaders! There are lots of York alumni employed in this business. Find them! 

… and for those about to join the job market?

Really follow the leader. I’m always a big fan of working with York grads. The caliber of knowledge is second to none!

If you had the chance to go back and visit your younger self as you were beginning at York, what advice would you give yourself?”

Take more sound courses!!

Did connections, friendships, relationships you made at York help you afterward?”

Yes. Still do. Almost every day.

What did you learn at York that has been of greatest value?   

How to work with, for and manage people. I also cherish the fact that I learned that I don’t need to know everything, I just need to know who to call to find the answer.

What did you NOT get taught at York that you wish you had been taught?  

Accounting 101