The Wally Russell Award committee has announced its donation of $5,000 to "An Oral History of Theatrical Lighting And Its People," a joint project organized by ESTA, USITT, Entertainment Design, and Lighting Dimensions.
The decision was made at LDI99 in Orlando, FL, where the annual Wally Russell Award for outstanding achievement in the lighting industry was presented to Don Stern, chairman of the PRG Lighting Group.
The monies will go to support an important industry project that was launched to create a history of the theatrical and entertainment lighting industry as seen through the eyes of those who have worked as manufacturers, distributors, designers, consultants, and technicians. The history is being collected via a series of interviews conducted with industry pioneers.
The interviews focus on tracing the impact of developing technology on the creative process. This recorded history will be preserved for publication in diverse media and for future research. Interviews to date include such industry figures as John Kliegl, Robert Schiller [see ED, November 99], Bob Cannon, Bill McManus, Stan Miller, and Sonny Sonnenfeld. The groundwork for the project was laid in 1998, while the interview process got underway during 1999.
"All of us on the Wally Russell Award board are very happy to be able to support this crucial project," says Jacqueline Tien, publisher of Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions magazines. "It is important to capture the history of our industry directly from the people who made it happen, especially in the early years. This is a significant historical project and the board is glad to help."
Founded in 1992 in memory of industry pioneer Wally Russell, the annual "Wally" Award has been presented in past years at the LDI trade show to Wally Russell (posthumously), Charles Altman, George Van Buren, Tharon Musser, Francis P. DeVerna, Fred Bentham, Bran Ferren, and Don Stern. The committee members include Phil Bernard, Rusty Brutsche, David Cunningham, Tom Folsom, Fred Foster, Don Hamilton, John Howe, Larry Kellermann, Philip O'Donnell, Richard Pilbrow, Brian Russell, Glenn Russell, Robert Schiller, and Jacqueline Tien on behalf of ED and LD.
The Industry History Project committee members are: lighting designer Betsy Adams; David Barbour, editorial director of ED and LD magazines; Janel Becker of Grand Stage Company; lighting designer Dawn Chiang; David Johnson, editor of Entertainment Design magazine; Robert Kliegl of Altman; Zoe Paine of PRG/
Production Arts; Jonathan Resnick of Barbizon; Marjorie Romans, former owner of Olesen; Sonny Sonnenfeld of ETC; Lori Rubinstein, executive director of ESTA; Christine Kaiser, treasurer, USITT; Jacqueline Tien; and project manager Jared Saltzman.
"The history committee is extremely pleased to receive this donation from the Wally committee, as well as their recognition of this project," says Rubinstein. "We hope that others in the industry will join the Wally committee in supporting this unique and important project so that we may continue the work we have started." Tax-deductible donations can be made through USITT and are used to purchase recording equipment, pay travel expenses for the volunteer interviewers, and for transcription costs of the tapes.