All Stories

Moon Magic: Mounting the Moon Beneath the Gardiner

Photo: Nicola Betts

Changing leaves and cooler temperatures this month mark the end of another excellent season of programming at The Bentway. Our Fall 2019 line-up, themed around “Second Nature”, transcended time and space to re-connect urban residents with cycles of nature—often in colossal ways.

Perhaps the most ambitious of our Fall Season endeavours was Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon, a seven-metre wide installation that brought the lunar surface to life under the Gardiner for six nights this September. A beacon for curious city dwellers, often disconnected from the sites of the night sky above, Museum of the Moon greeted more than 20,000 visitors to participate in a complement of after-dark programming, ranging from stargazing sessions and indigenous storytelling to moonlight meditation and silent discos.

Helping to bring our Bentway-sized ideas to life is our Production Manager, Billy Wolf. Mounting a massive moon sculpture under the Gardiner is just the latest in a series of large-scale projects that Billy has tackled since joining The Bentway team. Earlier this year, he played a lead role in producing Derives, our largest performance piece to-date, which featured 60 performers and hundreds of spectators roaming across the full length of our site, led by choreographer Noemie Lafrance.

Billy sees himself as an advocate for those invested in the piece, which not only includes the artist, but also the public audiences who come to experience the work. For Billy, it isn’t the size of a project that’s important. No matter how gargantuan the task may seem, Billy begins each and every project ensuring he fully understands the artist’s ideas and intentions.

However, as with any project, reality and logistics also come into play. In an open, outdoor space like The Bentway, weather is a factor in every project we do. While forecasts make the weather seem largely predictable, Billy says it can often surprise you as it constantly evolves and changes from minute to minute.

For Museum of the Moon, Billy oversaw the design and installation of a rigging system, dreamt up by a dedicated rigging designer. Billy ensured that the massive sculpture was secure in our space and remained responsive to challenges posed by precarious weather and high winds. Thanks to this sturdy rigging design and an attentive production team, our moon was able to weather at least one *literal* storm during the exhibition.

It is this element of surprise posed by nature—and the nature of our space—that Billy has found most special about working at The Bentway. With so much to see, hear, and do—often changing day-to-day or season-to-season—The Bentway is a truly multi-sensory experience. When all these things combine with our active programming including art, recreation, and community events, it makes The Bentway an exciting place to be.