Before day one (Arrival at the Banff Centre)

I didn't see one of these at the Banff Centre.  (This is from the Tyrell Museum.)
I didn’t see one of these at the Banff Centre. (This is from the Tyrell Museum.)

9:48 PM.  Quiet.  Dark.  I’m at the Banff Centre, sitting in one of the lounges at Lloyd Hall, by myself, enjoying the quiet before what I’m sure will be craziness starts.

I am a participant in this years incarnation of the Banff Centre Puppet Intensive.

Today was arrival day.  A windy day as I drove up here from Calgary, not too far away. I checked in, met my roommate, did a few of the administrative things such as checking in and getting my ID/ meal card set up, etc.  In the three buildings I’ve been in so far, I’ve gotten lost at least that many times. Good thing the lounge is right across the hall from our room.

It’s pretty quiet around here right now.  It looks like we are the only group residency going on at the moment, although I have a feeling that will change as time goes on.  It’s also only the 2nd of January- holidays are just ending for a lot of people.  I met most of the people in the puppet workshop with me- there are 24 of us, from all over Canada (one from the States), with backgrounds in arts of all kinds: theatre arts (some puppetry, performance, acting, etc), music, and only a couple of other visual artists.  Everyone seems pretty focused on their work and their commitment to their practices,  which take many forms.  We had a discussion about day jobs at dinner- temping, working in art supply stores, Starbucks, corporate fundraising, and one person works in a chocolate factory/ shop.  A few in different types of art admin/ theatre jobs, but those two types seemed most prominent- either career-related, although maybe secondary to their real work, or totally unrelated, but flexible.

Anyway.  Dinner in the Vistas Dining Room, then off to “Orientation,” essentially the overview of the Centre, plus introductions for everybody, and what to expect.  The biggest thing that stuck with me is Peter saying that it was nice to hear what everyone wanted to get out the workshop, but not to be too fixated on that- to be open to learning and possibility, and to let what happens happen.  In my limited experience with residencies, you really do need to be open, open to experience, open to collaboration, open to the unexpected.  That’s where the magic is, or as Peter put it, “it pushes your brain into different crevices than you normally would be in.”

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