Martin Professional announced the winners of its annual Technology Grant and its Light Jockey Contest at LDI in Orlando.

This year’s recipient of Martin’s Intelligent Lighting Technology Grant is the University of Connecticut’s Department of Dramatic Arts, a division of the University’s School of Fine Arts. On hand to accept the award on behalf of the University was James Franklin, head of the Design Program and professor of lighting design in the Department of Dramatic Arts. He was accompanied by a host of other University students and alumni.

The Grant is valued at $50,000 and consists of a variety of Martin fixtures and control products. Martin also provides technical training and support for the winning college or university, as well as quarterly seminar’s on emerging technologies and application discussions.

Professor Franklin commented, “The Department of Dramatic Arts is a top-quality program with an impressive list of lighting design alumni which include David Lavigna, James F. Ingalls and Tony nominee Michael Baldassari. Our facilities are state-of-the-art but until now we have operated without permanent intelligent lighting although we have rented automated lighting units on a regular basis. Having the Martin intelligent lighting equipment in-house will be a great benefit to our program and will give our students the opportunity to get hands-on experience in both lab situations and productions. We also plan on using the equipment in our graduate lighting technology course. It will allow us to train students for 21st-century theatre lighting design.”

Winners of this year's Martin Technology Grant

The department offers comprehensive and challenging academic programs and training experiences, which prepare students for professional careers in the theatre and related entertainment fields including television, film, and video. “The lighting design program in the Department of Dramatic Arts is part of a larger design program that includes sound, puppetry, costume, and scenic design,” Professor Franklin stated. “We have a unique situation in that we have a professional theatre in residence, the Connecticut Repertory Theatre (CRT), which provides a chance for our students to work alongside professionals. All of our productions are designed by students and CRT is run as a professional theatre under the terms of an Actor’s Equity Association agreement. Our philosophy is to put students side by side with--professional directors, professional technicians, Equity actors--very high caliber people. Our proximity to New York City allows us to work with the finest professionals, directors, designers and other theatre professionals. We also offer extensive guest artist programs, professional designers who critique students’ work and provide masters classes.”

The Department of Dramatic Arts performs in three separate theatres with a fourth under construction and a fifth in the planning stages. They include the Connecticut Repertory Theatre, the Studio Theatre, the Mobius Theatre, the soon to be completed Nafe Katter Theatre, and a Frank Gehry-designed performing arts center slated for completion in several years. Besides the efforts of Professor Franklin, also instrumental in securing the grant for the University were Kirk Matson, academic associate and production electrician for CRT and the Department of Dramatic Arts, and Carleton Coffrin, a FHA honors student in lighting design.

This is the third annual grant award presented by Martin Professional, Inc. Prior recipients were Carnegie Melon University and UNLV. The Martin Intelligent Lighting Technology Grant is awarded to an accredited college or university in the USA each year. Grant applications are accepted in the second quarter of the year, with the selection of the winning school chosen by the Martin management team and board of directors in association with the LDI exhibition each year.

In addition, Martin gave LightJockey users a chance to show their stuff in the recent LightJockey design contest. Martin’s panel of six judges was nearly unanimous in their decision on the most creative designs. Grand Prize winner was James Barclay, owner of Main Show Lighting in Dallas, TX. Barclay wins $5,000 in Martin gear and a trip to Denmark to tour the new Martin factory.

Second place went to Sean Reilly of Effects Lights and Sound Inc. of Lake Worth, FL. Reilly also won a trip to Denmark to tour the Martin factory. Honorable mention went to Jose Luis Arana Aguilar of Luminica of Guadalajara, Mexico. Both Barclay and Reilly were on hand at LDI to accept their prizes. Using the Windows based Martin LightJockey controller software, entrants were asked to design a creative three-minute light show, coded to music. Designs had to be based on one of three digital format songs made available on the Martin US website.