From time to time I get invited to speak to theatre students about “Professionalism in the Theatre.” I enjoy doing this, but it is hard work. From now on, all I have to do is tell them to read Rusty Strauss' article in the March 2003 Entertainment Design [“Kiss and Make Up”], and I can stay home. It is really an excellent and timely article. Congratulations.
Just read your article on touring in the March 2003 issue of Entertainment Design [“Kiss and Make Up,” page 44]. Great job! It brought back memories of my 10 years on the road with everything from bus-and-truck one- and two-night stands, to full-fledged Broadway-circuit national tours in split-week and one-week engagements, to seven years as lighting supervisor for American Ballet Theatre and White Oak Dance Project.
I used to speak of ABT as “the circus coming to town” with its 15 to 18 trailers. Since settling down a few years ago I find myself recounting to colleagues a great many of the topics [author Rusty Strauss] covered so well in the article. We have a lot of younger and less experienced hands here in this small town of 60,000 who can benefit from this advice.
Santa Fe, NM
Thank you for “Lessons Learned: Balancing Life as a Designer and Instructor — An Educator's Survival Guide” [ED March 2003, page 20]. The demands of working as both designer and instructor can be great, but the rewards can be substantial.
Among the 34 member schools of the University/Resident Theatre Association (U/RTA) offering MFA programs in theatre, most provide training in the disciplines of theatrical design. These programs are committed to employing faculty who, in addition to their teaching responsibilities, maintain active professional careers in design off-campus. These are not adjunct faculty, but professors and associate professors who regularly work in some of the most prestigious theatres in the country. This working relationship offers graduate students the chance to work with successful designers, and assists up-and-coming design students in developing valuable connections with theatres across America.
Placing students in close working relationships with teachers who continue to hone their craft at the professional level is an invaluable part of the process. U/RTA schools are committed to making this kind of opportunity possible, and embrace similar professional connections in acting, directing, stage management, and playwriting programs. Your article has shed some much needed light on the work of the individuals who make their own continuing professional endeavors vital factors in their commitment to the education of new artists.
Scott L. Steele
Executive Director, U/RTA
I wrote several months (years?) ago regarding the differentiation between carpenters and riggers that touring shows seem to be making these days. I've just run into another piece of imbecility, so I'm writing with a request this time.
The imbecility: A rider for yet another show came into our building, requesting “carpenters with rigging experience.” What, pray, is a rigger but a technician with some degree of rigging experience? If you need riggers, ASK FOR RIGGERS! I know money's tight, but is the money saved by not paying rigger's fees going to cover the cost of litigation if someone is injured or killed?
Which brings me to the request: Can you get Rocky, Bill, Harry, and other riggers that we all respect, and have an article or roundtable on this? I'm tired of fighting this battle by myself. Some words of support or enlightenment from the heavyweights of the industry might help open some eyes.
Editor's Note: Not a bad idea, Andrew. We'll see what we can do.
I was delighted to see that our design solution for the North American International Auto Show made it into the March issue [“Auto Focus,” page 48]. I appreciate Entertainment Design's broad interest in staging and production. Although corporate theatre is the bastard child of legit theatre, it is the arena where deep pockets and a short attention span can allow a designer to take a flyer and do something that would be hard to fund or get approval for in the regions or even on Broadway.
DMD Group, Inc.
I was happy to read the History Project section in your March 2003 issue [page 16]. I have always been fascinated with lighting history, old fixtures, manufacturers, and leaders in the industry. I enjoy collecting old theatrical lighting fixtures and have a puzzle to solve: Do you know of a company, probably from the 1930s, called DUWICO? I asked my friends at Barbizon Light of New England if they ever heard of them; they gave me a number to call but with no success. Hoping the History Project and its staff or some of your readers can help!
Production Manager, WPRI/WNAC-TV East Providence, RI