1 min

People in your neighbourhood

A profile of set carpenter/production manager Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith is a set carpenter and production manager at Nightwood Theatre. Credit: -

Katherine Smith
Set carpenter, production manager

Currently: Production manager for the Nightwood Theatre’s Free Outgoing, a play by Anupama Chandrasekhar directed by Kelly Thornton at the Factory Theatre Mainstage. Set in 2007 and inspired by two incidents that took place in India, the play focuses on the phenomenon of the videos and photos of consensual sex going non-consensually viral. “What happens when a traditional society is fast-tracked into technology? . . . Free Outgoing is an exploration through fiction into my society’s hypocrisy with regard to female sexuality,” the playwright explains in the program notes.

Previously: Katherine Smith’s already long CV reads like a list of the most talked about Toronto plays of the last few years. She was carpenter for The Penelopiad (Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times, 2012) and A Month in the Country (Soulpepper, 2010), head carpenter for Pig; Arigato, Tokyo; and Blasted (all three at Buddies in Bad Times, 2010–13), production manager for Between the Sheets (Nightwood at Tarragon Theatre, 2012) and Katherine Mansfield (Theatre Smith-Gilmour at Factory Theatre, 2009), but also venue technician, Fringe Festival lighting designer and part of the carpentry crew for many other key indie theatre shows in Toronto. Her first jobs were at Buddies in Bad Times, where she gained experience and connections that led to other theatre work. She first learned about set building and the production side of theatre in high school, where a drama teacher suggested that this might be something she would find appealing. That turned out to be very much the case. Right out of York University, Smith was building sets, cueing exits and entrances, organizing lighting and managing venues — mostly in Toronto, until she and her spouse, Kelly, decided to move to Sudbury, with an eye on starting a family.

Looking ahead: Smith is now the head carpenter at the Sudbury Theatre Centre but continues to work freelance contracts that periodically take her back to Toronto. Her dream is to start her own theatre production company in the not-too-distant future.