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For the Record
Fall Event Begins Section’s Year

The Midwest Regional Section had a great event September 26 at University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center to start off the academic year. The production staff, led by Sarah Schreiber Prince, director of technical services, welcomed 35 Midwest Section members into the center’s five performance spaces and countless backstage support areas.

The day began with a tour of the theatre spaces, including the Philbin Studio Theatre, a 100-seat flexible space; the Decio Theatre, a 360-seat proscenium space; the Leighton Concert Hall; a 950-seat music performance space with flexible acoustic panels and fabrics; The Browning Family Cinema, a THX certified movie theatre seating 200; and the Reyes organ and choral hall, complete with custom built organ on which one of the Notre Dame students played a mini concert.

Joshua Ingle, audio engineer at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center discussed speaker clusters with participants.

After the tour, two workshops were presented. Audio - The Kibble and Bits explored the differences between analog and digital consoles and amplifiers. Joshua Ingle, the facilities’ audio engineer. Rick Donnelly, from Notre Dame’s film, television, and theatre department, led participants through the collection of more than 105 original renderings from the Stratford Theatre Festival housed at Notre Dame. The renderings are by designers such as Desmond Heeley, Tanya Moiseyevich, Susan Benson, and John Pennoyer and adorn the wall of the public spaces of the Performing Arts Center.

Rick Donnelly, costume designer at Notre Dame and participant Tracey Lyons from UW Whitewater

During lunch, attendees visited the Historic Washington Hall, Notre Dame’s original performance space located across campus. Afternoon sessions included quick, simple, and inexpensive mask making led by Rick Donnelly. In the scene shop, Verda Beth Martell and Steve Ferrier from University of Illinois presented their Technical Training on the Road workshop, which displays many variations of pneumatic applications and equipment and gives participants a chance to assemble the systems and try out the cylinders, actuators, and other toys.

On the Decio stage, representatives from ETC and Creative Stage Lighting set up several LED fixtures next to the center’s conventional fixtures. The presenters demonstrated how the LED fixtures are most commonly used in theatre production currently as cyc lights and wash fixtures as well as dance side light.

The Midwest Section will hold future events in Chicago in February; Grand Rapids, Michigan in March; and Wisconsin TBA.

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Master Classes Informative, Fun

Over Labor Day weekend, the Southeast Regional Section held its annual Master Classes, hosted by the Department of Theatre at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Over 75 participants attended a wide variety of workshops and tours. Highlights from of some of the popular sessions included Jeff Lieder (University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee) teaching sessions on fabric modification and tie-dying; Delbert Hall (East Tennessee State University and D2 Flying Effects) leading sessions that sent students flying across the stage as he taught about the rigging and choreography of flying performers; a visit to “I to I” sling manufacturers where roundslings are made and tested; a demonstration of ETC LED lighting fixtures conducted by ETC and Barbizon-Charlotte; and a demonstration of the Jands Vista lighting system led by Russell Hill (Imagine Design and Production). There were sessions on pneumatics, Photoshop and Scene Design, Patternmaker Software, rendering, puppetry, and rigging safety.

The Friday evening keynote address was presented by Richard Whittington, managing director for Triad Stage, who gave a thoughtful and insightful take on the current economic situation and its impact on regional theatre.

The Southeast Section thanks its sponsors: BMI Supply – South; Barbizon-Charlotte; Stage Rigging Services; Sculptural Arts Coating; and Stage Decoration & Supplies, Inc.

The Southeast Section’s 2010 Master Classes will be hosted by Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama.

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Conference at Seton Hill University

On October 3, The Ohio Valley Regional Section held its annual Fall Conference at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Nearly 80 members met at the university’s brand new performing arts center. The focus of the conference was on getting a job with portfolio reviews, sessions on how to prepare a portfolio, information on taxes, how to interview, and fostering a sense of community presented by Curtis Craig, Annmarie Duggan, Jeff Gress, Chuck Hatcher, Joe Pino, Rebecca White, and Adam Zonder.

Other sessions included evoking mood in costume renderings and basic puppet making presented by Mary McClung. Members also toured the facilities of the Palace Theatre, which has remained functional while undergoing renovations over the past 15 years, and Seton Hill Performing Arts Center, which showcased large booths and shops, project rooms, the concert theatre, and a fully-trapped black box -- the Ryan Theatre. ETC and Integrated Theater Systems (Nick Gonsman, Jenn Christenson, Adam Leong, and Molly Jesso) conducted hands-on basic and advanced programming sessions on eight Ion lighting consoles. Jen Knott, from Rosco, taught a hands-on session on the economic advantage of using Rosco paints and how to choose the right coating for a project. Eric Rouse shared how to use AC inverters to control low horsepower motors for small scenic elements and props.

For the first time in recent memory, the conference included a keynote address. Dick Block, of Carnegie Mellon, gave an illuminating speech on maintaining integrity in the theatre workplace. Following the keynote, the annual fall membership meeting was held. Nominations were opened for the upcoming election in the spring. If you are interested in standing for election as a board member at large, Chair of the Section, or Vice Chair of Programming, please contact Eric Rouse at

There were over 35 nominees presenting 105 display panels for the annual Peggy Ezekiel Design Exhibit, which was beautifully displayed in the lobby and hallways of the Ryan Theatre. The award recipients are listed on the Ohio Valley Section website.

John Seaman and Jim Hill are spearheading the project of recording the history of the section. A WIKI has been set up for all to contribute information about the section at

The day concluded with another first for OVS, Tech Olympics! David Nash and the team at Integrated Theater Systems generously donated the grand prize, an ETC SmartFade 12/48 console. Congratulations to the winning team from Otterbein College (The team members are, Josh Branch, Rachel Heine, Caitlin Thompson, Wilm Pierson, and Berlyn Drabik.) A heartfelt thank you to Karen Glass, Ken Clothier, the rest of the Seton Hill University Department of Theatre Faculty, and the student volunteers for hosting such a successful conference!

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Southwest Master Classes

Labor Day weekend was full of events when the Southwest Regional Section held its TechXperience Weekend September 5 and 6 at Oklahoma City University and the Stage Center Theatre in downtown Oklahoma City.

The section kicked off the celebration of its 40th year during the weekend filled with workshops (including tailoring, moving lights, and scene painting), a keynote by Robert Beneditti, and the opportunity to see three local productions.

Section members were also able to participate in a Professional Design Exhibition.

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