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Theatre Blogs

  • Christopher Scott Murillo: Storytelling Through Scenic Design

    Porsche McGovern | Illuminations | September 12, 2019I was introduced to Christopher Scott Murillo through a mutual friend. We also work on the USA829 diversity committee together. Christopher Scott Murillo is a scenic designer, artist, and educator based in Los Angeles, CA. Most recently, his work has been seen at The Kirk Douglas Theatre, International City Theatre, The Chance Theater, Skylight Theatre Company, East West Players, New Village Arts Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry, The El Portal Theatre, and the Getty Villa, among many others.  Read More...
  • Stage Managers Play More Than Drinking Games

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | July 15, 2019Recently the question of how stage managers practice their soft skills was posed in an online forum and my immediate response was GAMES! I will confess that I am life-long fan of games of all kinds but, beyond general enjoyment, I find them to be incredible learning opportunities for stage managers. Games can teach you how to analyze a problem and develop strategies to solve it, read people and their bluffs, cooperate with colleagues, negotiate with those in power, and even learn how to benefit when you know you are going to lose.  Read More...
  • Tara Houston: Navigating Mixed-Race Identity

    Porsche McGovern | Illuminations | July 10, 2019While interviewing designers from the Latinx Theatre Commons Carnaval 2018, Porsche McGovern met Tara A. Houston and wanted to learn more about her. Houston is the Assistant Professor of Scenic Design at Louisiana State University as well as a freelance scenic designer. Her design work has been featured at Swine Palace, Skylight Music Theatre, Casa Mañana Theatre, Ocala Civic Theatre, Austin Shakespeare, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Music Theatre of Wichita, and others. Read More...
  • Finding Stage Management History

    Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier | Stage Management History | June 12, 2019Students often ask, “So where do you find resources for stage management history?” Usually this question is paired with an explanation of a final project or paper they are working on and are reaching out to me in hopes that I can point them in the right direction. Read More...
  • Making Theatre in South Africa

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | June 2, 2019Three years ago, I used this blog to promote a new Fulbright initiative that supports stage managers and stage management students in cultural exchanges. I didn’t just announce the program; I applied for it myself. Today I finish a two-week residency in Pretoria, South Africa, in what has been an amazing journey. Read More...
  • Asa Benally: Costume Design & Heritage

    Porsche McGovern | Illuminations | May 10, 2019Last fall, I met Asa Benally at a workshop, Decolonizing and Indigenizing on Turtle Island: Arts, Education, Community Practice, and Leadership. I was lucky enough to be paired with him for a few one-on-one exercises and was excited to get the chance to interview him. Read More...
  • History of College Stage Management Courses? Not Yet!

    Jennifer Leigh Sears Scheier | Stage Management History | May 8, 2019To college, or not to college? While some colleges and universities offer BFA degrees focused on stage management, many do not. Ask anyone in the stage management field and many will have a particular opinion on higher education – Should you choose a school with a BFA in stage management, allowing you built-in access to mentors, stage management courses, and a support network? Or do you go to a smaller program where you may not receive much of a stage management education in a classroom setting, but as the only stage manager in the theatre department, you end up graduating with 10 or more shows under your belt? OR, do you skip college and apply straight away for every apprenticeship and internship a high school graduate can get, maximizing on the networking opportunities that jumping straight into the field may open for you? Read More...
  • Pablo Santiago: When Storytelling is Central

    Ross Jackson | Illuminations | April 11, 2019Pablo Santiago is a Los Angeles-based lighting designer originally from Chiapas Mexico. Pablo and I met on the production of Skeleton Crew at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA. Read More...
  • A Robot-Proof Profession

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | March 26, 2019An incendiary blogpost hit the stage management circles last week questioning whether stage managers will be replaced by data transfer and cueing technologies. A number of professions have become rightfully obsolete – as much as an elevator operator sounds quaint, I shudder to think that elevators used to be so unreliable and difficult to operate. Meanwhile, I was also part of a strategic planning process in which we discussed Joseph E. Aoun’s book Robot-Proof. Robot-Proof proposes that, with the rise of artificial intelligence, we need to prepare the next generation for jobs that machines and algorithms cannot complete. Do I believe that stage management is one of those jobs? Absolutely. Aoun defines a new discipline, humanics, by which we can see how stage management cannot be replaced by a robot. Read More...
  • Keep Asking Questions, The Answers of Tomorrow May Not Be the Same

    David J. McGraw | Stage Manager’s Kit | March 18, 2019Image by Gerd Altmann While stage management doesn’t have its own conference, we are in the heart of conference season for the performing arts.  More than any other time of year, this is an opportunity for stage managers of all ages and experience levels to come together to swap stories and to learn from each other.  I cannot wait to head to Louisville for this year’s USITT conference, including portfolio reviews coordinated by Erin Joy Swank and the new micro-sessions such as the aptly-named “Lessons I Learned I Wish I Had Known Earlier” session on the Expo floor. Read More...
  • Lucrecia Briceno: Diversity Through the Lens of an Immigrant

    Porsche McGovern | Illuminations | March 13, 2019I met Lucrecia Briceño for the first time at a Wingspace salon on race in theatre design a few years ago. Since then, I’ve had the great joy of having honest and deep conversations with her on issues that really matter. Read More...
  • Kris Julio: Intentional Intersectionality Through Props

    Porsche McGovern | Illuminations | January 10, 2019I was introduced to Kris Julio through a mutual close friend via the Internet. Kris Julio is the Assistant Professor for Stage Properties in the School of Design & Production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. His professional experience includes work with Triad Stage, Majestic Scenic, Santa Fe Opera, National Black Theater Festival, Peppercorn Children’s Theater, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, American Conservatory Theater, and Contemporary American Theater Festival. With NETworks Presentations, Julio traveled as head of props for the national tours of Memphis the Musical and Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Julio has a B.A. in theater arts from UC Santa Cruz and an M.F.A. in stage properties from UNCSA. Read More...
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