Yes, but Is It Competition?

by Jacob Coakley
SD Editor Jacob Coakley

SD Editor Jacob Coakley
Congrats to all the winners, and those that participated, and those who are dedicated to the art, in any form

Spring presents a bevy of awards ceremonies in the theatre world: the Helen Hayes in Washington, D.C., the Eliot Norton Awards in Boston, the Non-Equity Jeff Awards in Chicago—a whole raft of awards ceremonies in New York City all leading up to the Tonys. Not to mention the various awards, commissions and fellowships for directors, playwrights and other artists from various theatre companies that get announced this time of year.

Yorba Linda High School Performing Arts Center Upgrades with Shure

by Jacob Coakley
The new high school in Yorba Linda is outfitted with a bevy of shure microphones, including MX393 cardioid boundary mics and the classic SM58 model.

The new high school in Yorba Linda is outfitted with a bevy of shure microphones, including MX393 cardioid boundary mics and the classic SM58 model.
The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District (PYLUSD) recently acquired the satellite campus of the local community college for its new high school. They were thrilled the property contained a 314-seat performing arts center, but needed to upgrade the infrastructure of the space. They worked with systems integrator Time & Alarm Systems to deck out the space, including a host of Shure microphones and Shure ULX-P wireless systems for their wireless mic and comm needs.

You Can't Always Be Where You Want

by Jacob Coakley
SD Editor Jacob Coakley

SD Editor Jacob Coakley
(But the Theatre Resources Directory really, really wants to try.)

As I write this, AACTFest—the bi-annual festival of the best of community theatre from across the country—is kicking off in Carmel, Indiana. Before I go any further, let me say congratulations to everyone from across the country who is competing in Carmel and who has participated in the various rounds of the festival leading up to AACTFest. The amount of time and dedication it takes to produce a top-notch show—then keep the cast and crew together through the weeks and months of competition leading to the Festival is amazing. I’m sure you’ll all be great.

You Can't Tuna Fish

by Jason Pritchard

But can you tune a room? Tips for ringing out a room. 

People refer to feedback elimination as “tuning the room,” but let’s reserve that language for discussions surrounding acoustics, not sound systems. We can’t actually tune the room with the sound system, but we can manipulate the sound system to work within the room.

You Can't Turn Off Gravity

by Stephen Ellison
in TD Talk
Stephen Ellison

Stephen Ellison
To do rigging safely, you’d better know (and stay well clear of) your working load limits

UPDATE: We got an email from Bill Sapsis regarding this article updating some terminology as well as some safety ratios. I've struck through numbers that Sapsis recommended updating, but left the terminology in, as some people still use it. Check out Bill's letter in the comments to this post, and keep in mind the admonition to practice safe rigging. If you're not trained and fluent in the very involved and very detailed facts that are vital to ensuring the lives of everyone underneath your rigged objects: Don't do it. In the words of one of my rigging consultants: All the more reason for people that are not riggers to not do rigging.  As Clint Eastwood’s character ‘Dirty’ Harry Callahan once said: "A man’s got to know his limitations.”

[Last month we said we’d discuss more fire safety in this issue—and we’re working on it, we promise. But we want to make sure we got everything right on that before we went ahead with it. In the meantime, though, let’s talk about rigging—a subject that ALSO has a vast potential for danger. Unless you’ve studied rigging for years and have practical experience, take the info here as knowledge building, and when it comes to practicing these techniques, call in an experienced professional.  –ed.]

So you are planning on rigging an object over the stage; first you need to know the weight of the object and the number of rigging points you will be using. The weight divided by the number of rigging points will help to determine the material you use to suspend the object. One common object we suspend in almost every theatre space are curtains. Curtains can weigh in the hundreds of pounds, yet we regularly use sash cord or trick line to attach curtains to a pipe. How, you ask, is this safe? Trick line can’t support hundreds of pounds! And you’re right. The standard black trick line that is sold is listed as #4 1/8” Diamond Braid un-varnished Sash Cord with a minimum breaking strength of 90 pounds. This is a very low breaking strength, and you should never approach that limit. The reason it’s safe for curtains lies in the number of rigging points; a curtain is supported every foot, dividing the load into many relatively light-weight segments.

You Say Tomato, I Say Go Cue 5,384

by John Hartness
Scott Richard Foster and Antoinette LaVecchia in You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!

Scott Richard Foster and Antoinette LaVecchia in You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!
A touring production with too much going on uses technology to simplify

When the design team for the inaugural production of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up!, by Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn, sat down for their first design conversation, everything sounded pretty simple. It was a small, two-person touring show: unit set, props and costumes should fit into a couple of roadcases, minimal lighting requirements, a few atmospheric sound cues, that sort of thing. The requirements quickly grew, however. Set in the framework of an anniversary dinner, the play details the trials and tribulations of the couple’s relationship in hilarious vignettes covering first meeting, courtship and marriage as it travels back and forth in time and location—a challenging sequence for a small tour. By the time the show opened in Charlotte there were nearly 100 light cues, half a dozen practicals and around 50 sound cues, all needing to be run by one operator over the course of a 75-minute show.

Young Designers & Technicians Award-Winners Announced

by Jacob Coakley
USITT will honor all nine award-winners in a presentation during their annual conference.


USITT will honor all nine award-winners in a presentation during their annual conference.

USITT has announces the winners of the 2013 Young Designers & Technicians Awards. The nine awards honor designers in the areas of production, sound, lighting, costumes, makeup, stage management, set design and scenic technology. Each winner receives a cash prize up to $1,000 and free registration to the USITT Annual Conference, taking place this year in Milwaukee, March 20-23. They will also be honored in a special presentation the first night of the show. The winners were: Cole W. Muth, University of Wisconsin – Madison, the KM Fabrics Inc. Technical Production Award honoring excellence in technical direction or production; Daniel Perez, Yale University School of Drama, the Frederick A. Buerki Golden Hammer Award; Erik T. Lawson, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the Robert E. Cohen Sound Achievement Award; Albulena Borovci, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the Zelma H. Weisfeld Costume Design & Technology Award; Ethan Vail, Purdue University, the USITT Lighting Design Award sponsored by Barbizon Lighting Company; Courtney O’Neill, Northwestern University, the USITT Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Brand; Jared LeClaire, University of West Georgia, the USITT W. Oren Parker Undergraduate Scene Design Award sponsored by Stage Decoration & Supplies; Lauren Wilde, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the USITT Makeup Design Award sponsored by Kryolan Professional Makeup; Peyton Taylor Becker, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the USITT Stage Management Award sponsored by Clear-Com.

Young Vic Takes New ETC Eos Console

by Stage Directions

LONDON — Two UK theatres are set to take delivery of ETC’s Eos lighting control systems: the refurbished Young Vic in central London and the brand-new Rose Theatre in Kingston, southwest London.

Your Stage Awaits!

by Thomas S. Freeman
in Profile
Gateway’s Saturday Night Fever set: now available for rental!

Our sets pay homage to Broadway designs and will fit on a smaller stage

Gateway Set Rentals has been offering high-quality set rentals since the early 1990s. We offer professionally designed and constructed sets to theatres of all shapes and sizes. (And budgets!) We rent full set and prop packages in their entirety, and you can find our sets on stages across America. From community theatres and high schools to LORT companies and national tours, we at Gateway Set Rentals pride ourselves on providing scenery you can be proud of for less than it would cost to build in-house. 

Your Ticket Please

by Kevin M. Mitchell
Berkelely Rep uses Tessitura for its tickweting software. Shown here are (left to right) Jennifer Baldwin Peden and Christopher Baldwin in Berkeley Rep's West Coast premiere of Figaro.
Ticketing services abound to fit any theatre’s need.

“You don’t really have a choice to not have a ticketing system anymore,” says Jeffrey Larris of Intex (the International Ticketing Association). “You have to invest in it, because patrons want to do business that way.”