Design Showcase East goes virtual with UMass Theater's help
By Anna-Maria Goossens | Friday, May 15, 2020
By Anna-Maria Goossens
Friday, May 15, 2020
Last weekend was supposed to be Design Showcase East, an important conference in New York City where theater students present their portfolios, meet professionals in the field, and make important career connections. Like everything else, it was cancelled because of COVID-19. But theater folks are creative problem-solvers for a living, so they adapted.
UMass Theater Scenic Design Professor Anya Klepikov got involved, helping organizers at Southern Methodist University transform the event into a virtual one, and moderating the Q&A after an inspiring address by projection designer Wendall Harrington.
Klepikov reports that twenty schools from all over the country, and 88 students participated in this event. The participating graduating students enjoyed over 650 portfolio reviews, which took place over the three days (May 9-11) with designers/directors/production managers and other professionals in theater and entertainment. Among those whose portfolios were reviewed were two graduating MFAs from UMass: costume designer Emma Hollows and scenic designer Xinyuan Li, who both received feedback on their portfolios from over 20 professionals in their respective fields.
UMass Theater's involvement didn't stop there: Tony-nominated lighting designer Justin Townsend '97 was one of the closing speakers, discussing his work on Jagged Little Pill. Tom Kelleher '20 managed several of the Zoom Webinars. Several of our undergraduate and graduate design students attended as observers.
The keynote speech and Q&A after have been recorded and shared for anyone who wants to watch at LiveDesign online. Watch the entire speech, or forward to 23:12 for Harrington's inspiring words about generosity, or 31:26 for her Q&A with Klepikov.