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At left is Sean Crowley's scetch for the Tower of Babel which will be a center for Scenofest activities.



Scenofest Events
Span Globe, Industry

Sandy Bonds
VP-International Activities

During the Prague Quadrennial in June, in addition to spectacular National, Student, and Architecture exhibits from over 60 countries, the Scenofest will offer innumerable workshops, performances, and presentations. The list of activities is extensive, and includes something for everyone of all levels and interests in theatre design and technology.

A session about Scenofest will be presented 10 a.m. Friday March 16 at the USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Phoenix, Arizona by organizers Marina Raytchinova, Sean Crowley, and Chris Van Goethem. Here is a sneak preview.

The Scenofest organizers have chosen Reaching for the Heavens as the theme exploring human dreams and aspirations. Under this banner, Aristophanes' The Birds and the Tower of Babel form two of the major projects for this year's events. Many of the activities and workshops are based around the concepts of birds, flying, and aspiring to break from gravity's confines and live in the skies.

Prominent among these events will be the exhibit of 50 student designs for The Birds, critiqued by a panel of the world's leading designers. Another bird activity will be the wall of postcard-sized drawings of birds donated by PQ participants. All will be available for sale, and a sketch by famous designer or a soon-to-be well-known one can be picked up. Bird parades and bird performances will be seen throughout the city over the 10 days of the PQ.

The workshops will be spearheaded by internationally renowned designers and are designed for students and emerging practitioners. Those farther along in their careers may volunteer for teaching support. Some of the presenters are familiar to USITT members for their recent presentations at conferences. In the area of scene design, Jean Guy Lecat, technical director and space designer for Peter Brook, will offer two workshops on "Adaptation of a Space to the Theatrical Process Today." Bringing together directors, actors, architects, and designers for five days, they will create an original performance while discovering the true sense of the connections between space, performance, and design. Other scenery workshops will investigate the use of media, transforming found spaces, using recycled materials, and cross cultural aesthetics in design.

Pirjo Valinen, who presented her portfolio of paper costumes to the Costume Commission and Maija Pekkanen, will conduct a workshop on using paper as inspiration for costumes. Those attending this workshop will learn how to make the lovely costumes she had on display in Toronto. In addition to this workshop, others will create found object birds for a parade through Old Town in Prague, produce cage body structures, and explore the relationship between fashion and costumes.

Lighting design workshops will include an exploration of color with Beverly Emmons, recipient of a USITT Distinguished Achievement Award. New technology will be represented in sessions on moving lights and designing with LEDs. Sound workshop leaders come from around the world with Igor Drevalev from Russia on the "Scenography of Sound" and Jethro Joaquin from the Philippines exploring "Sound Design: A Communal Process." Technical topics will be on the schedule as well ranging from rigging to pyrotechnics and guns to Show Control.

In addition to workshops, international presenters will offer insights into contemporary theatre practice and practitioners around the world. Richard Hudson, a scene designer from the United Kingdom with a Tony Award for The Lion King, will speak on "The Graphic Theatre Space," and Richard Pilbrow, a leader in modern stage lighting, will share his insights in lighting design. Michael Levine, a director and designer known for visionary sets including the recent premiere production of Wagner's Ring Cycle in Canada, will describe his approach in "The Designer as Director." Speakers from Russia, the Czech Republic, and Germany, among others, will participate.

Prague is known for puppetry and no PQ would be complete without a focus on puppets. Petr Matásek, another past presenter for USITT and a major influence on puppet makers around the world, will lead master classes. Other puppetry workshops will feature bunraku and build on the overall Scenofest theme of The Birds.

At 6:45 p.m. daily, the Tower of Babel will be the focal point for presenting the products of the workshops. Beyond the abundance of workshops, there will be Design as Performance presentations daily and the Top Ten Talks presenting views on world performance. Evenings at the NoD (No Dimension) café and bar will be a gathering place to meet Czech artists and see experimental performances.

And for those wanting to appreciate the incredible setting of the city and surroundings of Prague, Scenofest will offer backstage tours of theatres, walking tours of the city and daily excursions to Cesky-Krumlov.

Registration to attend PQ is available now online. Go to for more complete details about the workshops, presentations, and registration.

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