Back at the beginning of the month, we were incredibly lucky at the University at Buffalo to be able to host the USITT Upstate NY Regional Section’s annual Spring Meeting. The meeting was a one day event, and featured sessions, product demos, and of course, free food.

As part of the extended planning group, I was involved in the set up on Friday night and Saturday morning. We used most of our facilities, and as a result were kept quite busy moving between rooms and coordinating work. As the resident graphic designer on the team, I was charged with creating navigational signs for the day, to help people find their way from session to session. I had to map out the Center for the Arts on paper to figure out exactly what signs I needed and where to put them. Ultimately I think I was successful – I only heard one or two reports of people needing help finding their way, so I’ll consider that mission accomplished!

The actual event itself was great. I spent the day bouncing between rooms and sessions, trying to learn what I could and absorb as much as possible. Sessions that stood out were…

  1. Lighting design for dance – Coming from narrative theatre, I’m always interested to learn more about how to design for non-narrative work (although dance can have narrative, and one of Configuration’s pieces was quite narrative-based). Lynne (my professor and the speaker) was able to break down the process of designing lights for dance and really answer a lot of great questions. Being able to see that performance later that night was great too, I was able to recognize a lot of what Lynne had spoken about earlier during the day.
  2. Sound design panel – I’m not a sound designer, but I now know that if I were, I would have Rick Menke’s philosophy!  I loved how he talked about sound design as truly design, and not just the process of amplifying actors and sound effects. The examples he provided from his time at Studio Arena were great too, and the other panelists provided great insight as well (a particularly interesting story was how the evening air can cause sound to change at Shakespeare in Delaware Park).
  3. Color – KC Hooper gave a great lecture on the power that gels can have to influence your design, and how a gel might affect a piece of scenery, or costuming, or other design elements. Color theory is not easy to grasp, but his use of examples in the Design Studio made it far more accessible and understandable.

It was a great day, and it couldn’t have happened without the work of everyone in the tech/design program, the CFA staff, and USITT Upstate NY Region. Thanks of course to SPoT Coffee for their sponsorship of the morning coffee, and Apollo Design for their sponsorship of lunch (with the department and USITT as well).

I’m looking forward to the next USITT Upstate event, and excited to put what I learned into action!