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Ron Naversen, left, presents the USITT Special Citation to Darwin Reid Payne at the 2006 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. The citation was "in recognition of the profound and enduring contribution you have achieved in your roles as scene designer, educator, and author. USITT honors your innovation, creativity, and inspiration, as well as your contributions to theatrical design education."

Photo/Tom Thatcher



Darwin Reid Payne Receives
USITT Special Citation

The lifetime body of work created by Darwin Reid Payne as a designer, teacher, and author was recognized as part of the USITT 2006 Annual Conference where Mr. Payne received a Special Citation.

Mr. Payne, who has designed for numerous summer stock, regional, and university productions, may be best known for his theatre design texts. In presenting the award, Ron Naversen said "When I first came to Southern Illinois University Carbondale 20 years ago, I felt the presence of two very significant designers who came before me. The first was Mordecai Gorelik whose design process I learned in school and whose designs were a Special Exhibit at the 2006 Stage Expo.

"The second is Darwin Reid Payne whose models and renderings I've discovered in various nooks, crannies, and offices around our building.  Darwin is rather careless in the treatment of his designs either giving them away or simply leaving them in the scene shop after the show has opened. We were able to gather just a few of the models and renderings of the over 400 productions that he has designed, which I hope all of you were able to visit in his retrospective exhibit (also part of the 2006 Stage Expo).

"But although Darwin hasn't been very judicious at preserving the actual artifacts of his profession, we may be grateful that he has preserved many of these designs along with his design philosophy and process in his many books on theatrical design. In particular his Theory and Craft of the Scenographic Model was the first text on model building to treat the model as a tool in the creation of the design. His Design for the Stage: the First Steps was also the first text to treat design separate from stagecraft. His Computer Scenographics was also the first text on using computer-aided design software for scenery."

In continuing the tradition of acknowledging those who had influenced his development as a designer, Mr. Payne thanked the people who had helped. He thanked three men who had been "kind" to him when he was younger: Jo Mielziner, Donald Oenslager, and, of course, Mordecai Gorelik.

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