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Conference & Stage Expo
For the Record
Upstate New York Event a Success

More than 100 people participated in workshops and sessions hosted by the Upstate New York Regional Section in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) on the State University of New York (SUNY) Albany campus.

Whether interested in computer drafting and rendering, make-up, sculpting materials, acoustic manipulation, or moving lights, there was something to satisfy everyone's interest.

Following a brief section meeting in the Recital Hall, left, one of PAC's five performance spaces, attendees had the opportunity to select from the nine sessions offered. BMI Supply provided food and a chance to see side-by-side comparisons of moving lights, color changers, and optics on the stage of the Main Theatre. Al Ridella, vice president of sales for 4 Walls Entertainment, offered an introductory session in programming moving lights in the Lab Theatre, right.

There were plenty of opportunities to create at the polymer clay casting, hands-on workshop led by Designer Janet Sussmand and Shop Supervisor Deepsikha Chatterjee in the department costume shop. Scenic Designers Kent Goetz and Ken Goldstein ran multiple sessions in Vectorworks and advanced Photoshop techniques. In a 15-minute acoustic extravaganza, Barney Cole of Calf Audio transformed the 196-seat Arena Theatre into a virtual cathedral.

"If it bleeds it leads," they say and SUNY-Albany graduate Zoraida Orellana provided the blood, guts, and gore. Andi Lyons and Adam Zonder marshaled an army of students who kept the event running smoothly. They are shown below in the scene shop. Next up is the winter meeting and fourth annual Job Fair at SUNY-Oswego in January.

Photos/John Knapp, Scene Shop Supervisor

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Variety Abounds at Chesapeake Expo

On September 15, the Chesapeake Regional Section held its annual Expo and Convention at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia. Exhibitors displaying their wares on the Convention floor were: AKT3 Company, Barbizon Capital, Color Kinetics, ETC, Fisher Theatrical, Par Lights, Strong Entertainment, Texas Scenic Co., Theatre Service and Supply, TMB, and VectorWorks Spotlight by Nemetschek NA.

Professionals presented over 20 workshops in their fields of expertise. The workshops ranged from basic instruction in many technical areas to advanced problem-solving for the seasoned professional.

Brought back by popular demand was another all-day rigging workshop for professionals hosted by Jonathan Deull and Delbert Hall. Current ESTA rigging license holders obtained extra points for recertification of their rigging licenses. All types of rigging were on display for aerial flying, as well as traditional rigging used in proscenium fly houses.

In another session, a special workshop using Fosshape was presented by costume designers Jennifer Adam and Cheryl Yancey. Fosshape, from Dazian, resembles a heat-activated felt fabric. A demonstration on mask making, millinery, and armor using Fosshape, Sculpt or Coat, and paint allowed hands-on experience.

For 20 members interested in carving, a practical hands-on workshop on "foam cheeseburgers" was presented by Tim Jones, the cover of this issue.

These are but a few of the workshops presented. Some of the other design and technical workshops included: sound -- basic and advanced; wireless microphones; stage combat; pneumatics; make-up; painting; moving wagons; castor lifting techniques; alternative building materials; advanced 3D rendering; Idiot's Guide to Lighting; knots, and fabric dyeing.

During the annual section meeting, two new members were inducted into office. Patrick Wallace is the new First Vice-Chair, and Randy Whitcomb is the new Member at Large

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Southeast Master Classes a Success

The North Carolina School of the Arts (NCSA) provided an intense weekend of workshops and demonstrations for the 2007 Southeast Regional Section Master's Class.

Michael Clark, projection designer for Jersey Boys, winner of the 2006 Tony Award for Best Musical, was the special guest presenter. The well-orchestrated activities gave participants diverse choices that included "Blood and Guts," CNC Routing, Rendering for Costumes and Scenery, "Qlab," and "Automated Flying Rigs" with Fisher Technical Services. In the process, attendees were treated to a well-represented and competitive Design Expo.

A showcase for the design efforts of Southeast Section members, the 2007 Expo entries made the adjudication process particularly challenging. The quality and range of design entries, coupled with increased numbers, served to exhibit the breadth and creative resources available in the region.

The designers whose work will represent the Southeast Regional Section at Design Expo at the 2008 USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Houston are:

  • Emily Gill -- University of Montevallo
  • Ivan Ingermann -- University of Georgia
  • Glenda Hensley -- Western Carolina University
  • Leeanne Deaver -- Student, Western Carolina University.
  • Kenny Constant -- Student, North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Roejendra Adams -- Student, University of South Florida

Demonstrating a special effect at the Southeast Master Class held recently at NCSA.

Photos/Doug Brown

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Midwest Plans Event, Completes Another

The Midwest Section is planning its next program for Saturday, November 17 in Bloomington, Indiana. Program hosts are Section members Bob Bovard, Indiana University faculty technical director; and Paul Brunner, technical director of at the world-renowned Musical Arts Center. That building is sometimes referred to as the mini-Met since its stage has the same configuration as the Metropolitan Opera, except it is approximately one foot smaller in all directions.

The November program will feature a tour of the four-year old Neal Marshall Theatre & Drama Center after registration from 9:30 to 10 a.m.. This will be followed by a one-hour session with opera designer-legend Robert O'Hearn.

In the afternoon there will be two concurrent sessions: Opera Painting & Texture Techniques with Tim Stebbins from the MAC paint shop and Stage Managing Musicals and Operas with David Grindle. The day concludes with a tour of the MAC itself.

There are opportunities to attend performances at both facilities either Friday or Saturday evenings, and even a Saturday matinee. Featured are MAC's La Boehme and Measure for Measure at the Neal Marshall.

Special pricing of $5 is in effect for this event, and membership is not a requirement. It is targeted to introduce the Midwest Section to people in the southern Indiana area and to encourage increased membership and involvement.

The Midwest Section recently completed its first program of the 2007-08 year, "Faces, Fabrics and Facades" on Saturday, September 29 at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois. Hosts Mike Webb, Program Director, and Garrett Cliff, Technical Director, opened the program with a tour of the recently completed outdoor theatre, a structure that received a 2005 USITT Architecture Award.

The very large stage house includes comfortable support facilities underneath the stage. A principal feature is the retractable roof, which converts the space from open air to a tent-like covered area. Mr. Webb led the tour and told the story of how this imposing physical plant was created from in-kind donations and generous supporters, almost all of whom were local or international.

The rest of the morning featured three concurrent classes: "Makeup" led by Jim Greco, UW-Madison Costume Supervisor; "Scenic Painting" led by Kurt Sharp, a Chicago-based USAA scenic artist, below; and "Projection Techniques and Equipment," led by Ann Archbold, head of the UW-Madison MFA Lighting Design Program.

A common thread was the effect of high definition broadcasting on these three areas, an idea inspired by Eric Coffman of Graftobian Makeup Company who donated all the materials used in the makeup sessions. This connection was examined in great detail in the two-hour afternoon session led by Ms. Archbold that included all three guest artists. The effects of lighting were studied using a HD-camera and monitor. It was clear that the increased resolution came at the price of some rather wild shifts in the amount of detail and the special designed-for products made necessary by HD broadcasting.

Mike Webb of Rock Valley College, far right, joins other participants during the Scene Painting workshop led by Kurt Sharp.

Photo/Dennis Dorn

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