Have you Met…Gerry van Hezewyk?

Have you met Gerry, production manager in the Department of Drama? Spend a few minutes getting to know him a little better.

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Have you met Gerry, production manager in the Department of Drama? Spend a few minutes getting to know him a little better.

What is your first U of A memory?

My introduction to Edmonton and the U of A campus was the first time I brought a touring show to the Jubilee Auditorium in the Fall of 1990. I recall asking myself, “What is that strange yellow building across the street?”

What’s something your coworkers don’t know about you?

I have worked with several celebrities over the years, so here’s an anecdotal ‘teaser’ for my colleagues: I have been kissed by Kiefer Sutherland.

What’s your favourite distraction?

I purchased a record player two years ago, and have been happily building my vinyl collection.

If you were enrolling in one course, program or degree right now, what would it be?

I took a few Spanish language courses prior to pursuing my graduate degree, and I would like to resume those studies soon.

What’s a weird pet peeve you have?

People who park their grocery carts in the middle of the supermarket aisle while oblivious to other shoppers. Such cluelessness invokes in me what must be the pedestrian form of road rage!

You can invite anyone — alive or dead, real or fictional — to dinner. Who would it be?

I’d choose one of my outstanding mentors, Francis Reid, a prolific theatre designer and scholar, who is no longer with us. My first encounter with Francis was through his books — which I devoured as a teenager, later as his student, and subsequently as a colleague. We had a very enjoyable final encounter several years ago in Tokyo, where we were both speaking at a conference. I wish that I had known then that it would be the last time we would see each other.

If you could see any live performance tomorrow, what would it be?

I regularly attend theatre and music performances in my personal and professional life, so that is a tough one! I wish I could have seen David Bowie perform live. I found his theatricality fascinating, particularly how he continually evolved his sound and persona, beyond a mere commercial ‘rebrand’, seemingly in relentless pursuit of fulfillment as both a creator and entertainer.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Something like, “Be confident and trust your intuition as you embark on a series of very demanding — yet tremendously fulfilling — adventures.” And, more practically, “You are about to travel around the globe numerous times, so invest in high quality luggage!”

What’s one thing you can’t live without?

My family, who are my greatest source of support and inspiration. But on a superficial level — coffee. I started drinking it shortly after I joined the U of A, and can’t seem to function without it anymore!

What three words describe your U of A experience?

Collaborative, Invigorating, Transformative.

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Gerard van Hezewyk, MBA (Dunelm), joined the U of A in 2010 after twenty years of performing arts management roles with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the National Arts Centre, Esplanade Theatres (Singapore), and Cirque du Soleil. A National Theatre School alumnus and former instructor, he is also a former Vice-President of the Canadian Institute for Theatre Technology, and a Canadian delegate to the Organisation Internationale des Scénographes, Techniciens et Architectes de Théâtre.