July 18, 2013

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By Matt Hughes

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Gillian Ferrabee, director of the Creative Lab for Cirque du Soleil Media, will speak at Bucknell University on Tuesday, Nov. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building. Her work focuses on the creative integration of art, technology and engineering, and the human body.

Her talk, "Tech Know Body: The Future of Flesh and the Arts in a Revolutionary Age," is part of the continuing Bucknell Forum series "tech/no," which focuses on the evolution of technology's role in society, and its potential to impact the world in both positive and negative ways. Ferrabee's presentation will include still images and video clips from Cirque du Soleil performances, as well as a question and answer session with the audience. The talk is free and open to the public.

Ferrabee wrote, directed and produced her first long-format play at the age of 10, and has been telling stories ever since. Ferabee's early training was as a modern dancer. She performed for more than 10 years with contemporary dance and physical theatre companies touring North America, Central America and Europe. She began acting professionally after she was scouted for a TV series through her acting class. At 29, she retired from dance due to injuries and transitioned to acting in film and television full time, as well as writing and translating screenplays, coaching young actors on set, and assisting in casting sessions. 

She joined Cirque du Soleil's casting team in 2004, and for five years she travelled the world meeting artists and discovering new trends in performance. She was responsible for the artistic casting of "The Beatles: LOVE," the house Cirque Du Soleil show at The Mirage in Las Vegas. In 2009 she became the artistic casting adviser for the company's touring shows, and in 2012 she was promoted to creative director for images and special projects.

In December 2012 she was named director of the Creative Lab for Cirque du Soleil Media. She heads a team of in-house creatives in developing projects for film, TV and new media, in collaboration with various outside partners. Gillian also has a thriving practice as an expansion coach for artists, creatives and entrepreneurs.

Ferrabee also speaks and leads workshops regularly, most recently at the Feast Conference in New York City and the C2-MTL event in Montréal.

The Bucknell Forum
"tech/no" embraces technology and its perils and promises. The series, which will run through the 2014 spring semester, aims to stir discussion about the pros and cons of technology, its benefits and damages, its legitimate promises and false panaceas, and its capacity to satisfy human need and desire even as it can bring risk and danger.  

The Fall 2013 series debuted with a talk by P.W. Singer, a leading expert on 21st-century warfare and director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence at the Brookings Institution, on Sept. 24, followed by a talk by multi-genre author Neil Gaiman, writer of "American Gods," "Coraline," and comic book series "The Sandman," on Oct. 1. || Click here for more information.

Speakers are being sought to explore how technology has affected a range of areas, which might include social change, human relationships, culture, politics, medicine, science, the environment, globalization, education, journalism, business and more. Suggestions for speakers can be sent to theforum@bucknell.edu.