Arts Campus News Society & Culture

UGA to host theatre technology workshops

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia department of theatre and film studies will host the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Southeast Regional Section Master Classes Oct. 7-8.

With nearly 4,000 members, USITT is the professional organization for all backstage professionals in the entertainment industry. The workshops, last held at UGA in 1998, will feature guest artists that include lighting designers Jim Moody and Jeff Davis and Broadway fabric painter Margaret Peot.

The three guest artists bring a variety of expertise to the conference. Moody is considered to be one of the pioneers of rock and roll lighting. He’s also lit such popular television programs as Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune.

Davis also has a television background, lighting many of the daytime soap operas for ABC-TV and many of the New York Metropolitan Opera’s Live at the Lincoln Center broadcasts. He also lit the original productions on the Disney Magic (Disney Cruise lines) and is known for his work in regional opera.

Peot is a specialist in fabric painting. Her work has appeared in such Broadway productions as Cats, Mary Poppins, Shrek: the Musical, Wicked and, most recently, Spiderman.

The Southeast Section is one of seven regions of USITT. The national organization meets each spring to discuss trends, share new techniques and technological innovations, write standards and establish technical protocols for use in the industry. The regional conferences are structured to provide different workshops each fall.

The classes at UGA will be comprised of 30 workshops during the two days, including a keynote presentation featuring two of the three guest artists. The workshops will take place in the fine arts building on Baldwin Street, in the teaching theatres, shops, classrooms and the restored Fine Arts Theatre.

“Bringing USITT to campus is a great way for us to showcase some of the work in media effects that we do here – work that makes UGA unique,” said Rich Dunham, associate professor and head of design in the department of theatre and film studies. He is the primary organizer of the workshops. “Many of the designers coming in will take workshops taught by our faculty members, finding ways to work animation, film and video into straight design.”

Other workshops will be taught by company representatives, working artists and master teachers from across the region. Additional session leaders will come from several of the entertainment industry’s major manufacturers.

The workshops will cover a broad range of subjects and areas of expertise, including rigging and flying made famous in the current Broadway version of Spiderman, image projection, painted stained glass, pre-focused lights geometry, the latest LED and moving/automated light technology, sound design and techniques for painting textured designs on fabric.

For more information on UGA’s department of theatre and film studies, see http://www.drama.uga.edu/. Registration for the master classes and keynote workshops is open to the public as well as to members of USITT and is available online at http://www.southeast.usitt.org/2011_MASTER_CLASS_REGISTRATION.html.