G&G Carpentry, a set-building and carpentry business owned and operated by staff member Gill Lesperance, has received its first public accolades. One of the first large sets it has built since its inception in 2012, received an award at Ottawa's "Prix Rideau". Melanie McNeill, the designer of the set for Le Theatre francais de Toronto, won best Set Design of the 2013/14 season. Gill has built smaller pieces for TfT in the past but this was his first complete set for the professional French theatre company based in Toronto. Gill states:
This set featured a number of complications such as the bandshell walls, a two-tier eight-piece revolve, sliding door and 200 sq ft of acoustic foam that made it a real challenge to build. When they told me that it had to be tour ready, I wasn't sure it was possible. I wish I had a photo of my face when they said the word "TOUR". I've been building sets for over 15 years and the process of building this one was without a doubt amongst the most rewarding. To have it win an award is such a compliment - I was speechless.
Gill began G&G Carpentry as a side business to cover the freelance construction work he does outside of UWaterloo. Gill, who has been the Director of Technical Production here since 2009, began building things at the age of 10 when he worked with his father, a general contractor in Penetanguishene, Ontario. He brings his expertise into the classroom in many courses, teaching students how to build the sets for the Department's productions but also how to design sound, work safely at heights, and appreciate the production process as an art form unto itself. Gill has built sets and set pieces for many other companies such as Drayton Entertainment, Lost and Found Theatre, the Stratford Festival and Stage West.