The Expat Interview: Kathleen McNurney

We have decided to launch a series of interviews with expats who are making a positive contribution to the local community. first up is the ever graceful Kathleen McNurney, artistic director of “Tanz Luzerner Theater” at the Luzerner Theater.

Where are you from? Portland, Oregon USA

How did you come to be in Luzern? I was offered the position of Ballet Mistress and assistant to the dance director at the Luzerner Theater and eagerly accepted.

What were your first impressions? I had been working in Basel for 12 years already so I had been briefly to Luzern before, but living here was, of course, different. I was impressed by the proximity of the  lake and mountains and let’s face it, Luzern on a sunny day is simply breath taking!

How has it changed?  The tourist situation may be good for the economy, but it is making everyday life difficult for those of us living here. In 1996, when I moved here, the tourist season was between April-October, and in the off months it was again a city for the Luzern people. Now it is year round tourism and each season seems worse than the last. Navigating by foot around the  Kapellbrücke and Schwanenplatz is a nightmare and there just doesn’t seem to be the right solution for this problem at the moment.

What is your favourite thing to do here? When I have free time I enjoy sailing on the lake with my partner.

Tell us about your work at the theatre: Since 2009 I am the Artistic Director of “Tanz Luzerner Theater”. My job entails the planning of the dance programs for each theatre season, finding exciting choreographers to work with and create for the ensemble, the running of the company (10 full time dancers and 5 apprentices) as well as sharing the teaching company class with my Ballet Master. I try also to continue to develop outreach programs for both young and old which are specific to Luzern.

What’s the next production you’re working on? TANZ 16:DON JUAN will have its premiere on October 1st. It is a dance piece based on the Spanish legend of the anti- hero Don Juan with music from Christoph Willibald Gluck. The sets and costumes have been designed by Patrick Kinmonth, an extraordinary person who is based in London, but designs all around the globe. I could go on for ages about his talents and it is worth getting on the internet to look him up! The choreographer for the creation is Fernando Melo, a young Brazilian talent based in Gothenburg, Sweden. I think the most exciting aspect of the piece will be the marriage of the Baroque music, sets and costumes with our contemporary dance style. A beautiful combination!

 What is your insider tip. Well, not unknown but, my absolute favourite restaurant is Brasserie Bodu. I would be happy eating there almost every night!

Thank you for you time.

Readers don’t forget to make the most of the theatre, not only can you see the lovely Don Juan show but we have an exclusive offer for Living in Luzern readers offering a 20% discount offer on the opera The Antilope this coming Saturday.

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