With theatre artists participating from every continent, the Prague Quadrennial, the pre-eminent scenographic exhibition in the world, will take place June 12-29 2003. Held in the Czech Republic every four years since 1967, the Prague Quadrennial (PQ) has awarded prizes for top national entries and individual designers while providing a forum for the exchange of ideas between both professionals and students. Countries are judged by presentations in three categories of exhibits: National, Architecture, and Student.
The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) is sponsoring and preparing three exhibits to represent the United States at the upcoming PQ 2003. The theme for the 10th anniversary of PQ is "The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of Theatre," and the exhibit will be a celebration of creativity.
Sixty-five productions will represent the United States in the National exhibit. The United States’ submission, titled Design USA: Bridging the New Millennium, includes renderings, models, costumes, masks, and virtual presentations demonstrating both the production process and end product from theatre venues around the country and even Americans working abroad. In many cases, the members of the design collaboration team were based in a variety of locations, coming together to create a unique vision with their combined creative talents. Robert N. Schmidt and Ursula Belden designed the exhibit, Laura Crow is exhibit curator, with assistance from Arden Weaver and Margaret Mitchell, sound selections were done by Richard K. Thomas, Robert Scales was exhibit production coordinator, with technical direction by Duncan Mahoney.
As part of the Architecture Exhibit, the 12 theatre buildings that have won USITT’s Architecture Honor Award in the past four years will be displayed together in the United States exhibit. The display will include photographs and descriptions of these structures, which depict both new theatres and renovations of existing buildings. This exhibit was curated and designed by Michael Tingley and Bill Murray.
The Student Exhibit will feature designs from 23 graduate programs around the country. Each university submitted a trunk filled with student designs to be judged by the jury. The trunk concept was developed to encourage more student participation in the creation of their exhibit. Each trunk represents a design approach representing the individual programs.
The five human senses will be the focus of a special project of PQ ’03. There will be an interactive exhibition/performance in a labyrinth of performance spaces, which will also serve as a laboratory for researching the five senses. Presenting each of the senses is a group of international theatre artists of different professions working on creating a firsthand opportunity for spectators to explore their senses in a wide range of contemporary theatre and interdisciplinary workshops and presentations.
Besides offering the majority of the financial resources, USITT has provided the organizational support and coordinated all areas of the United States entry to PQ. All of the exhibits were assembled and constructed in the scenery shops of the University of Southern California, by the university’s technical and design students. Alexandra Bonds coordinated all three exhibits.
For more information on USITT, visit www.usitt.org or call 800-93USITT.