Tag Archives: #WavingDinosaur

Summer Student Recap: Sarah Hiseler

That I’m writing this at the end of my time here says something about how much of a whirlwind this experience has been. While I’ve had some quieter times to familiarize myself with the history and architecture of Mermaid Theatre, for the most part it’s been a blur of paperwork, painting, and tours. As a theatre student, the most fascinating parts for me are getting to see all of the other behind the scenes things that go into making a show- especially those that you don’t always come into contact with as a designer. The contracts, contacts, and research that is required to get the show physically on the road was a completely new thing for me. (The painting, not so much.)


Working in the “office.”

Unlike other “office” positions, I’ve been lucky enough to be involved in a wide range of projects. Helping to compile tour documents, mail runs, and updates to our website have been balanced with painting (of set pieces, and the stage), inventory counts, and, on two occasions, running the lighting or sound board. I also got to spend two days out of the office entirely while assisting Struan with giving puppetry workshops at local summer camps. The crafty part of the children’s puppet builds was familiar, however the introduction to some of the puppets and their movement was as much of a crash course for me as it was for the kids! I’ve been lucky enough to walk out at the end of just about every day having learned something new.

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the summer, other than getting to know the talented and enthusiastic people who work here, has been getting to show visitors around the facilities. There’s nothing quite like watching people discover something that they never realized was in their own backyard, the return visitors who always have to drop by because they love the place so much, or the pure infectious excitement of someone who has fallen in love with one of the shows on tour and is finally getting to see backstage where they never thought they’d get the chance to go. No matter the age of our visitors, it’s hard not to light up at least a little bit when presented with such engaging characters, and the lucky few who got to watch rehearsals or a run through of The Very Hungry Caterpillar before this summer’s trip to China were especially enchanted (myself included). The style and visual appeal of the black light show is a far cry from the look of Rummabubba, Lid-Maker of the Snufflewogs, the show I saw as a child when it toured to my elementary school, making it a completely new experience for me. Too, the sound track was as much a part of the appeal as the puppets themselves- there are many reasons why these shows are as popular with the adults as they are with the children they bring to see them.


Everyone at Mermaid, including Waving Dinosaur, wish Sarah the best of luck back in school and beyond!

In the case of whoever comes along next summer, or the ones after, my advice is:

  • to say yes when offered something new (I almost never get to work with children- the workshops were great fun),
  • ask as many questions as you need because there is always a new story, historic fact, or skill to learn (the architecture and history of the building is as cool as the company’s and its staff’s),
  • talk to everyone who comes through that door as you never know who you’ll get to meet (other artists, visitors from all over, former Mermaid people… all sorts of interesting folk),
  • keep paint clothes in the office (you will end up wearing it, just make your peace with that fact early on)
  • don’t stress too much about any of it (just take your time),
  • and have fun (I know I have!)

Histories of the Summer Student: Part I

Note: this blog post was submitted by Rick, our summer assistant at Mermaid Theatre, who unfortunately missed his first day due to a terrible case of the flu. This is part one of a series, apparently — Jason.


My commencement at the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, as their summer student, was much anticipated.

Having returned in April to my homeland from imparting my wisdom, knowledge and disposition to the newest generation of Korean progenies across the seas I was eager to embark on another adventure. After my homecoming I promptly set out to seek my fortune as a member of the celebrated workforce of Nova Scotia.

After a month of searching was able to procure an interview at Mermaid Theatre with the luminous general manager, Lisa Gleave. Two days following (a lifetime to be sure), I received an audible message confirming my appointment as the summer student commencing June 2nd. I spent the subsequent weeks putting my affairs in order and delighting myself by reuniting with estranged friends.

On the eve of my inauguration I busied myself with the task of setting out my finest “business casual” garments and preparing a picnic lunch; the town of Windsor has a myriad of fine outdoor spaces for one to spend an hour out of doors in quiet repose. It was in these moments of preparation when the most dastardly of illnesses sprung upon me (I was no doubt purposefully infected my the youngest member of my eldest sister’s brood.) For hours my body reeled through feverish fits. I finally resolved to inform my employers of my unquestionably fatal situation; I sent an electronic letter to my future mentor, Jason Tucker, and slipped back into my feverish nightmares.

I woke, to my surprise, and finding myself still very much alive, albeit in a dwindling state, I set upon nursing myself back to relative health. Spurred on by the encouragement and well wishes of my new employers, sent that very morn, I endeavoured to vanquish the remnants of illness from me. With my sickbed as my vessel, chicken noodle soup as the wind in my sails, and Mermaid Theatre as my destination; I set my heading and soared towards my own recovery.

IMG308The following morning, still fatigued, I began my expedition, with my trusty companion (of whom I will speak more of in subsequent entries), to the town of Windsor and my bright future.

After passing the ascetic MIPAC entrance I arrived at the façade of the main offices. Upon entering the Mermaid Theatre foyer I was greeted by a particularly friendly and scholarly dinosaur (some hyper-intelligent raptor of sorts). To my left I hearkened, “you must be Rick… the new summer student”.

End of Part I