The Southwest Regional Section held its Winter Symposium January 13 to 15 at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. The symposium was hosted and organized by the students, staff, and faculty of the SHSU Theatre Department, particularly Don and Jane Childs, Greg Buck, Kris Hanssen, Megan Erskine, and Holly Flannery.
The highlight of the symposium was a presentation by Luc Lafortune, lighting designer for Cirque de Soleil, who exibited slides of productions such as "O" and "Ka" and shared the production process Cirque de Soleil uses to develop the concept for each production.
The featured designer for the symposium was Jim Kemmerling, long-time designer for West Texas A & M University. His scene and lighting designs were exhibited with models, sketches, and photographs. In a walk-through of his exhibit, he discussed his approaches to the various productions.
Other workshops presented during the weekend including: Fiber Arts by Tamarra Chasteen; Painting and Surface Treatments by Jenn Knott of Rosco Labs; Rigging Safety by Bill Sapsis of Sapsis Rigging; Color in Lighting demonstration by Joe Tawil from GAM Products; Congo control board from ETC demonstration by Heidi Stewart; and Le Maitre's latest foggers and atmospheric effects demonstrated by Ian Forester.
Software was also demonstrated. Jody Lane led a demonstration of Sketch-up, a rendering software from @last. Chris Judd presented various animation software.
As part of the symposium, the Design Southwest exhibit and competition was held. Adjudicators for were Mr. Lafortune, Mr. Kemmerling, and Barbara Alkofer from Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The Scene Design winner was Travis Eason, who received a full suite of Vectorworks 12.0 software. The Costume Design winner was April Keith, who won two tickets to Spamalot, lunch with the wardrobe mistress, and a backstage tour of the theatre. The Lighting Design winner was Richard Chamblin who received a complete package of WYSIWYG software. In Sound Design, Megan Erskine and Jack Coughlin tied for first place and will receive a tour of the Meyer Sound factory in Berkeley, California.
Other winners included Lindsey Custer in Props Design and Daniel Colosky in Technical Production. Other prizes awarded were a set of Rosco scenic fitches, LD Assistant software, Sketch-up software, costume and make-up books including mint condition Lucy Barton and Richard Corson texts, Set Wear gloves and The Photometrics Book.
The overall winner for the exhibit with the best presentation was Michael McGehee, who received a registration to the Louisville 2006 Conference & Stage Expo and round-trip airfare. Prizes were donated by several of the companies listed as well as Lee Filters, Norcostco, Schuler-Shook, SECOA, Stagelight, and TheatreJobs.com. For those students in the region who missed out, there will be another Design Southwest in the near future.
At a membership meeting, led by Section Chair James G. Cunningham, vacancies on the board of directors were filled by: Judd Vermillion of Texas Christian University and Kris Hanssen, Directors-at-Large I and III, respectively, two-year terms; and Holey Flannery, Director-at-Large V and student representative, one-year term. Planning began for the next two symposia. T
he next Fall Symposium is scheduled for the Labor Day weekend and will be hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. The next Winter Symposium will be hosted by Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, over the Martin Luther King weekend in 2007. Topics to be covered tentatively include Sound Design, Portfolio Construction, Design Presentation, Recording a Show, Alternative Employment, and Digital Rendering.
At the USITT-Southwest Regional Section membership meeting on March 30 during the Annual USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville the Glenn Martin Jr. Service Award for recent outstanding service to the section, and the Forrest A. Newlin USITT-SW Founders Award for outstanding service and achievements as a leader of the section were scheduled to be presented.