Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer
Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer

The Safe Place to Explore Unsafe Ideas

Ross Jackson

An Interview with Leah Ramillano, Scenic Designer

Leah Ramillano is a Filipino-American Scenic Designer based out of Los Angeles and Orange County. After graduating with a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Redlands, Leah participated in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s FAIR program, where she worked as an Assistant Scenic Artist, and then later at PCPA [Pacific College of the Performing Arts] Theaterfest as a Scenic Art Intern. Later, she designed the world premiere of Ser! (written and performed by Karen Anzoategui) at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Then, she designed Sueños Sin Fronteras under Cornerstone Theater Company’s Teatro Jornalero. Leah will be graduating from the University of California, Irvine with an MFA in Scenic Design in June 2017. Her main stage designs include The Liquid Plain, These Shining Lives, and Parade.

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Xavier Pierce
Xavier Pierce

Storytelling Through Lighting Design

Porsche McGovern

For this post in Illuminations, I interview Xavier Pierce, a New York-based lighting designer with strong ties to the Guthrie Theatre, Playmakers Repertory Company, and the Mint Theatre.  In this interview, Xavier talks about how he began his journey, advice for starting a career in theatrical lighting design, and the importance of mentors and role models.

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Making More than Minimum

David J. McGraw

A question appeared on social media about gender wage equality for stage managers, which then led to a related question about how many Equity stage managers earn more than minimum union scale.  The 2015 edition of the Stage Manager Survey asked the 1,662 participants if they had tried to negotiate for a higher salary in their past three jobs:

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The cover of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers
The cover of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers

Guidance for the Ones Who Keep It All Together

David J. McGraw

Interviewing one of the authors of Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers

Stage managers are the linchpins of productions, involved in making sure everything happens smoothly, from before the first rehearsal to after strike, across all departments. And yet so often people starting out in the role are thrown into it with little preparation or guidance. Stage Management Basics: A Primer for Performing Arts Stage Managers from Routledge Press, written by Emily Roth, Jonathan Allender-Zivic and Katy McGlaughlin, aims to change that, offering clear advice for those starting in the field—and sharing a wealth of documents and tools to help stage managers keep it all together. The trio began working on this book several years ago and last year one of authors, Katy McGlaughin, started her studies in the MFA Stage Management program that I lead at the University of Iowa. We sat down to chat about the book, her co-authors, and why they think sharing tools is so necessary.

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Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager on Cirque du Soleil's Kooza.
Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager on Cirque du Soleil's Kooza.

Cirque du Soleil and Childlike Disbelief

Ross Jackson

An Interview with Dean Curosmith, Cirque Stage Manager

Dean Curosmith is a Stage Manager with Cirque du Soleil.  He was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV and is currently traveling Australia with the Cirque production of Kooza.  Dean has been with Cirque du Soleil since January of 2013; has worked on four different productions; and with them he has traveled and worked in Japan, Chile, and now Australia.  Before his time with Cirque, he earned his Bachelor of Theatre Arts from Pepperdine University in 2007, and his Master of Fine Arts from University of California, Irvine in 2013.  Dean is of mixed heritage, but the largest contribution to his ethnic background is Japanese on his mother’s side.

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Kristen Day
Kristen Day

Find Your Chosen Family

Suzi Steffen

For this edition of Illuminations, I spoke with Kristen Day, who spent the 2016 season as a lighting technician and programmer at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Day -- who worked on the electric crew at Shakespeare Santa Cruz and who was an intern through the FAIR program at Oregon Shakes before getting the job -- uses the pronouns they, them and their. Day got into the theatre by following their sister into dance and moved into lighting after some friends recruited them. And it was in the followspot booth that Day truly discovered who they were. 

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Weekly Timesheet

Punching the Clock

David J. McGraw

Since the Department of Labor announced back in May the updated overtime regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act that take effect on December 1st, nearly every American industry has examined how – and how long - its employees work.  Perhaps this is the pendulum swinging back after decades of increased expectations of work hours, but all fields must now consider whether they have built their companies on the backs of employees who do not set their own schedules.  The performing arts are no different.

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Jay Duckworth

Jay Duckworth: Proptologist, Bear, Philosopher of the Hand

Suzi Steffen

Although he is props master at New York City's Public Theater now, Jay Duckworth started his career in a small-town community theatre -  moving his mouth, without speaking, to taped words in Mark Twain tourist tours of Hannibal, Missouri. 

Now he’s got a slightly bigger voice. In his current role at the Public Theater he's worked on everything from Shakespeare to Hamilton. He’s founded an annual summit for properties masters and designers; created podcasts to share his knowledge; given keynote speeches for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival; taught props classes in many a college … and so much more.

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Scenic Designer Regina García

Designing and Community Engagement

Porsche McGovern

This time in Illuminations, we sit down with Regina García, an Illinois-based scenic designer with long-standing relationships with the St. Louis Black Rep, The Cherry Lane Theatre and renowned Latino theatres including Repertorio Español, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, INTAR and Pregones Theater. García opens up about who inspired her as she was coming up in the field, and where she finds inpsiration when she's stuck. 

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