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Hemsley Lighting Programs Selects 2020-21 Lighting Interns

Stage Directions • Industry News • April 14, 2020

Avery Reagan and Rachael N. Blackwell have been selected as the Hemsley Lighting Interns for 2020-21

The Hemsley Lighting Programs announces the selection of Rachael N. Blackwell and Avery Reagan as the Hemsley Lighting Interns for 2020-21. Reagan is just completing her MFA studies at UC-Irvine and Blackwell will be finishing this spring at CCM-University of Cincinnati. Reagan’s internship will include working with the resident and guest lighting designers at San Francisco Opera, New York City Ballet, and Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre. Blackwell will have the opportunity to work with the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and lighting designer Paul Miller.

Rachael N. Blackwell
Rachael N. Blackwell is a native of Hampton, VA. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts with an emphasis on Technical Theatre from Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL in May 2016. She will receive her MFA in Lighting Design & Technology in May 2020 at CCM, University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, OH.

She currently has design experience in lighting for drama, opera, and dance. Blackwell has worked with the Cincinnati Ballet, Yale Repertory Theatre, The Alley Theatre, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Montgomery Ballet, and Thomas Nelson Community College in VA.

Please join them in congratulating these two young designers as they take the next step in their careers. The Hemsley Lighting Program is thrilled that they will join the family of 39 former interns whose selection honors the life and legacy of Gilbert Hemsley.

Avery Reagan
Avery Reagan is a lighting designer currently based in the Los Angeles area. She is a third-year graduate student at UC Irvine, in the final stages of completing her MFA in Lighting Design.

Originally hailing from Atlanta, GA, Reagan was young when she found her passion for lighting through various school and community theater productions. It wasn’t until Reagan began to specify and mature her craft that she found how mesmerizing and impactful light can be within a production. Reagan enjoys creating with light in various forms of entertainment through theatre, live events, concerts, and dance.

During those rare times when she is not working, Reagan enjoys snowboarding, going to the movies, savoring a glass of good wine, and spending time with her friends. Most of all, she loves the creative and collaborative process that exists within her craft, and that special magic that often results.

The Hemsley Lighting Programs, Inc. was originally established in 1983 as The Gilbert V. Hemsley, Jr. Internship in Lighting in honor of this unique and much beloved man. He was responsible for the launching of so many careers in the theater that when the idea for the Internship was suggested, the outpouring of both good will and financial support created the framework upon which the program was formed and has been sustained. The Internship has provided a singular opportunity for students every year since 1984 and it has continued to steadily expand. In 2005, a first ever national portfolio review for graduating lighting students was added to the Internship’s ongoing initiatives and in recognition of the organization’s expanding scope, the corporation was renamed The Hemsley Lighting Programs. The new portfolio review has allowed graduate work to be seen and evaluated by some of the foremost lighting, scenic and costume designers, theater directors, and choreographers currently working in the business, with the goal of providing well-rounded feedback and helping to bridge the often intimidating divide between the educational and professional worlds. Most recently through the generous support of John Chenault and Wendy Cohen, a Mentorship Program was created to expand the opportunities for young designers to make the transition from their academic to professional careers.

For more information, or to donate, please visit the Hemsley Lighting Programs:




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