Faculty Comments


Faculty Comments

David Martin Jacques Professor, California State University, Long Beach

In 1980, Gilbert Hemsley was generous enough to take me under his wing and hire me right out of graduate school to be his assistant at Miami Opera. I was fortunate to be among the many students that he helped lead into the profession. Gilbert was a true man of the theater. He believed that education continues throughout our lives., and that one cannot learn enough about the theater, the world and humanity. I have never met someone with more knowledge of the theater, and a more generous heart to share this knowledge with young artists. He understood the necessity of the mentoring system in our profession and would go to any lengths to offer learning opportunities to his students.

F. Mitchell Dana Professor, Rutgers University

The Gilbert Hemsley Internship…is the only place I know of where an organized internship on this scale is offered, and the benefits are obvious… There is the unparalleled opportunity to work alongside some of the nation’s best lighting designers, study their individual style and technique and observe them work under pressure. I have worked for the NYC Opera, know many of these young interns, and know their worth and imprimatur of quality that comes with having been a GVH intern…This is quite simply the best possible internship in lighting today.

R. Craig Wolf Professor, San Diego State University

The Gilbert Hemsley Master Classes are an important initiative because they reach so many students in such an influential way.

Linda Essig Professor, University of Wisconsin

Exposure to professional practice is probably the most important contribution this new master class program can make to academic institutions. The students were amazed by the amount of material covered and impressed by the congenial way in which the information was disseminated. I personally was glad to have the techniques I teach in class reinforced by a top-knotch professional and it’s always good for me to get a refresher too!


Intern and Student Comments

Intern and Student Comments

Helen McCullagh, Intern - 1984
I never met Gilbert, but I think I know the man. Those touched by Gilbert and his spirit can’t help but continue as he did to reach out and share.

Russ Swift, Intern - 1985
The knowledge that I gained is not available through any training program. If I had just come to New York and started assisting working designers, it would certainly have taken much longer to experience as much as I did at City Opera.

Peggy Mueller-Borrer, Intern - 1986
It has been a tremendous experience – a chance to develop skills and reach toward goals on a scale which would not otherwise have been available to me…Gilbert Hemsley’s gifts to his students were an eye for quality, an outlook on life, and an opportunity to grow. Through the internship, his friends have found an inspired vehicle to continue his legacy.

Gary Marder, Intern - 1989
The Internship provided me with a program that was tailored to meet my needs, and this is what made the experience so beneficial to me.

Lynn Lefkoff, Intern - 1988
I have an appreciation of opera that I hope will last the rest of my life. I have the confidence to succeed in any professional situation because I have managed to stay afloat in on of the most demanding. And I have a chance to look back and say ‘I did it’ and finally get some sleep.

Eileen Dougherty, Intern - 1990
I’ve also learned a great deal about who Gilbert Hemsley was. I’ve found that the respect and love that he gained during his time in the theater has survived to this day. The words “Hemsley Intern”have sparked conversations…and evoked fond memories of Gilbert and often a wonderful story.

Jeff Croiter, Intern - 1993
The New York City Opera schedule is a tough and demanding one. When I started I was told that if I could make it through his I could make it through anything. I see why they said that. I am now ready to prove it to be true.

Jeff Carnevale, Intern - 2004
Through the Internship…I’ve come to understand how much each individual personality not only affects those around him, but also the work itself.

Christopher Reay, Intern - 1995
Gilbert’s legacy lives in the contributions of those who have allowed me to luxuriate in their wisdom and generosity…My tenure as (this year’s) intern when it ends, I already know, will have been more rewarding, enriching, educational, and beneficial that I can say.

Kenneth Schutz, Intern - 1994
Being able to see the works of great artists like George Balanchine, Jerome Robin …is an opportunity that does not occur often to someone who originates from the southwest.

Nicole Pearce, Intern - 1998
The phrase ‘Just when you think you know everything…you find out you don’t ‘ is the first thing that comes to mind when trying to describe my experiences during this internship…I have learned an enormous amount about myself and what I am capable of accomplishing.

Michael Patterson, Intern - 1999
It has been said that every new generation stands on the shoulders of giants. Through the Gilbert Hemsley Internship I have shook the hands of many of those giants.

Kazuko Oguma, Intern - 2000
This internship has brought me everything one can hope for…I believe it is the only place that gives young designers such a unique opportunity.

Camille Connollya, Intern - 2002
Through this internship I learned to think outside the normal boundary of a theatrical show while problem solving to get it back into the boundary… Although I never knew Gilbert personally, I can without a doubt sense his spirit in and through each experience I have had at Lincoln Center.

Daniel Gallagher, Intern - 2005
At the Lincoln Center Festival, I had to discuss the intent of the show with the (foreign) designers. I then researched their equipment to find what would work best in New York. It was invaluable to watch how these companies used their aesthetics and our tools to create vastly different styles of production.

Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew, Intern - 2006
Artistically this internship has opened my eyes to the possibilities of a repertory system. This is an aspect of lighting design that schools often do not teach and it is only through working within it that one can truly understand it’s potential…This internship has allowed me to take on challenges and thrive in demanding settings while sharpening my aptitude in lighting design and developing the stamina to succeed. It is the perfect opportunity for me to transition from the academic setting into the professional world of theater design.

Michael Jarett, Intern - 2007
The Intership has broadened my lighting palette by introducing me to a European design aesthetic where the light plots are precisely simple as a result of the clarity of the design ideas…It has been absolutely fascinating to watch all of the personal relationships at work around me between directors, designers, lighting supervisors, electricians and carpenters in all their combinations.

Hong Sooyeon, Intern - 2008
My biggest challenge was (learning) the repertory system, which I had never experienced. It was very important to know what is needed for each production, and how to solve problems without negatively affecting other (rep) productions…changeover was always my favorite part of work. I really enjoyed the pressure that the show had to go on under any circumstances.

Leigh Spencer Brown, Intern - 2009
Moving from the often improvisational festival setting directly into the San Francisco Opera’s established structure and regiment felt like passing from night into day. Rather than shadowing more experienced assistants, I stepped immediately into a full assistant position and hit the ground running. The pace was exhilarating…

Brandon Baker, Intern - 2010
Before moving to New York City and starting the internship I was studying choreographers such as Alvin Ailey and George Balanchine. Now I can say that I have worked with the very companies that these innovative choreographers started, and worked on the very stages they created. This opportunity means a great deal to me.

Davida Tkach, Intern - 2011
The people that I have had the opportunity to work with at NYC Ballet have been amazing. They instantly made me feel welcome and like part of the team. I have learned a lot from observing how they work and communicate with each other… and how a piece adapted from the first onstage rehearsal to opening… Seeing different pieces designed by different lighting designers allowed me to observe what specific details they added to make their designs unique…