Mr. Lakes shares his weekly conversation with former KES student, Struan Robertson (1996-98).
Pick a career you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
This phrase popped to mind as I was conversing and catching-up this week with Struan Robertson, Class of ‘98. Struan has not only accomplished professional satisfaction and international reach within the arts, he has done it while being based in rural Nova Scotia. Struan is the Director of Education and Outreach for MermaidTV, based within walking distance of our campus.
Struan is making a living as a professional puppeteer and raising a family with his wife, Jessica, while adjusting to the new realities of performance. Mermaid Theatre is well-established within the artistic fabric of Nova Scotia. Founded by Ms. Sara Lee Lewis and friends nearly 50 years ago, the company is known globally for its award-winning productions. Struan has toured throughout the United States and Canada and even to China as a puppeteer, animator, and director. But, of course, this changed suddenly a year ago.
“Yup, we had to re-think and adjust. I have to say the result is very exciting,” says Struan. “Right now, our current focus is MermaidTV. We have launched a handful of digital projects to educators and producers that Mermaid already has established relationships with, while at the same time creating new work for TV inspired by theatre – the general public will be able to access our digital work this fall.”
An example of a project Struan is currently working on is The Mermaid Workshop. The show, both fun and entertaining, teaches people how to create puppets from materials that are found in one’s home. Needless to say, this is a very pandemic friendly theme!
Another feature that we can look forward to is Puppets and Paper - Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia's innovative performance-based emotional learning series takes you and Pip, a paper bag puppet, through colorful worlds and emotional experiences. Pip was created to be gender neutral and all performances are non-verbal, supported by soft colouring for children on the spectrum. Suitable for children 4+.
Struan and his family are making our community more vibrant and creative. His daughter, Nora Mae, is 7 years old and his son, Osborne Bishop, recently had his first birthday. For Struan and his family, not travelling the world came at the right time. With his attention turned to the digital opportunities, Struan can continue to pursue his artistic and professional passion right here in Windsor and be nearby as a great Dad. I have a feeling that bedtime stories in his household are very entertaining.