June 2011

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June 2011


Breaking the Box - A Session Experience

Panela Leung Scene Design & Technology Commission

Members of the panel discussion on Breaking the Box session at the 2011 USITT Annual Conference.

A screen shot of a graphic used in the Collaboration Challenge.

The 2011 Annual Conference & Stage Expo included a second successful session presented through the Scene Design & Technology Commission and 5D–The Future of Immersive Design Conference partnership.

Breaking the Box: Collaboration Challenge was one among several session offerings at this year's conference in Charlotte. This session was a sequel to the first partnership session presented in Kansas City 2010 and focused on answering the question, "How does immersive design thinking change our work in the theatre?"

Holger Förterer, media artist and interactive projections designer, and Peter Torpey, visual effects artist and member of the MIT media lab, were distinguished members of the panel.

Peter Torpey provided an exclusive, behind-the-scenes creative journey for Death and The Powers: The Robot Opera, which recently celebrated its American premiere at the American Repertory Theatre in Boston. Death and The Powers, a breakthrough piece that numerous critics hail as "the future of opera," was developed through an interdisciplinary collaboration between MIT Media Lab and the American Repertory Theatre.

Mr. Förterer gave an overview of his interactive designs that included Cirque du Soleil's KA, and work from La Damnation de Faust and the new Ring Cycle, both presented at the Metropolitan Opera. He shared advice from his personal rulebook for what to consider when using interactive elements for the stage.

The audience response was overwhelmingly positive, and the message resonated with high school students and seasoned professionals.