Noemi moved from Barcelona to Copenhagen to Fredericia, all in 2 years. As so many other stories, she moved to Copenhagen for love, but when things did not work out she looked for a change of pace. She found that at Fredericia Theatre, in her job as a set designer.
-When I came here I did not know anything about Fredericia, the theatre or what was going on here, it was a leap of faith. I did not know anyone here, no boyfriend, family, friends or anything. But at the time I found the job here, I was starting to feel out of place in Copenhagen. I was thinking about moving somewhere else and starting fresh. At first, I was a little hesitant to move to Fredericia, because it is so small compared to Barcelona and Copenhagen. So first I looked in Odense and Aarhus and thought I would just take the train, but then I thought, why not give it a chance. As it turned out, the city is fantastic and I really like it here.
-The best thing about Fredericia? It gives me the calm that I need. It is a contrast to my work. My work can be very hectic, with short deadlines and pressure to complete everything in time. The whole theatre production is dependent on my work. So Fredericia gives me the calm I need. When I get home from a stressing day I can go to the beach. The beach is an absolute blessing, I love going there to just take in the fresh air and the view.
-It is always difficult to move to a new city and I think it is more difficult moving to a smaller city, but it is just a challenge. I’m Spanish and I can feel that here, there are some cultural differences. For example I am very expressive as a person. I found that people actually react positively to these differences. They want to know why I am like that, where I’m from, why it’s like that in my culture. Through these differences, it is very easy to connect and share. Danes are generally very open and curious; they want to know more about different cultures. At least that is what I found.
Creativity as a job
-I was looking around the internet for jobs in the theatre world, in museums and similar, because of my education. Nothing was really coming up and I was not finding anything, but then this position in Fredericia turned up. I did not know anything about the city, I had to Google it to find out where it was. I went through two interviews and a personality test before I got the job, so it was a long process. I was here two or three times before I got the position
-I am a set designer at Fredericia Theatre. I design the sets for the productions and in the big ones I have a girl doing props with me, some assistants as well. In the Hunchback from Notre Dame, which ran in the fall of 2016, we had another set designer on as well. We did this because I had just been hired and had never put on a big show before, so I could learn from him and get some additional experience. At the moment I am designing sets for the small stage at the theatre. Right now, I am working on the production "Lizzie" and after that, there will be two additional small productions. During a whole season, there is generally one big production and three smaller ones, plus we travel with the big production in the summer.
-When we travel with the big productions, we have to redesign and readapt the scenography. The stage in Fredericia is not that big, but we have some liberties we can not take anywhere else, because this is our stage. Here we can use some of the auditorium as well, we can get more creative and move the experience closer to the audience. When we travel to the bigger theatres, the process changes. We can not be as creative or take so many liberties, we have to cut some ideas. Generally I like designing for our own stage the most, because I am more free, I can almost do whatever I want with the space.
-When I started working, after like the first, second week, I began looking for ways to socialize. For me as a young person it was important to find people, to socialize and get out, find out who else is here. I wanted to know what young people were doing in Fredericia, where they were. Looking around on the internet and such, I discovered the musical academy, other expats, and the international book club. From there I started creating something with other expats, picnics, barbeques and so forth. Suddenly you realize, that even though Fredericia is not that big, people start to pop up and then at the Expat Dinner we were like 30 persons.
-That is my story. It took some time to create a completely new network and socialize, but I think it is common in a smaller city. It takes a bit of time, but when you get to where I am, it is like a treasure. I feel good here now. I also know some Danish people here now, from Fredericia. We are a small group of four girls and I am one of them and they really make me feel at home. They are not from the theatre world, they are not expats, they are just my own, my friends. I met them going around the city with my roomie, just visiting bars. We were like, I’m new in town, where do people go around here. Moreover, they were just like, come with us we will show you around.
-They are also teaching me some Danish, trying to help me learn it. It is a win - win situation for us, because they also learn from me. They ask me about Spain and Barcelona, they are interested in me as well, my culture and everything. They want to interact with someone new and learn things about the world.
We set aside one hour every time we hang out and during that hour, we only speak Danish. It is hard, but also good for me, and I learn a lot through them. Sometimes I say some stupid things, but that also makes it a lot of fun. I really feel at home in Fredericia now.