Fredonia Theatre students shine at USITT national conference

FUSITT's Tech Olympics team members are pictured from left: Kaitlyn Meegan, Franklin Krzyzewski, Christian Pearson, Connor Dickman, Jess Mahoney, Meg Valentine, Colleen Doherty and Trevor Cole.

Students in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the State University of New York at Fredonia collected first and second place awards, as well as a third place team award, at the 2019 USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) Conference and Stage Expo, held March 20-23, in Louisville, Ky.

More than two dozen Fredonia students — the most attending the conference in recent years — participated in panels, activities and Tech Olympics, which are timed theatre and technical skills competitions, with other schools.

“This year’s conference was great as the programming really delved into diversity, equality and inclusivity in all things theatrical, both onstage and backstage, on an industry that is seeing a lot of changes — changes that we should all be at the forefront of,” said Czerton Lim, assistant professor of Scene Design and faculty advisor of FUSITT, Fredonia’s student chapter of USITT.

“The 27 students who attended the conference had a front seat on what those changes can and should look like,” Mr. Lim added.

The duo of Meg Valentine, a senior from Sea Cliff, and Christian Pearson, a sophomore from New City, shared first place honors in Stage Management. The event tested skills at transferring measurements on a ground plan to the floor by accurately taping it out. Both students are majoring in Theatre Production and Design.

Christian Pearson (left) and Franklin Krzyzewski participate in the Tech Olympics rigging challenge.

Mr. Pearson also took second place in Top Technician. Participants were evaluated on how well they perform at stage management, sound, props, rigging and lighting, as well as costuming/sewing stations.

Fredonia’s eight-member team — Kaitlyn Meegan, Franklin Krzyzewski, Connor Dickman, Jess Mahoney, Meg Valentine, Colleen Doherty, Trevor Cole and Pearson — received third place honors in Team Performance. All were evaluated on overall performance at each station/event. With the exception of Ms. Meegan, a Theatre Studies major, all are majoring in Theatrical Production and Design.

Ms. Valentine also presented her scenic design of “Noises Off,” which was presented in the Walter Gloor Mainstage Series in the fall semester, in the Cover the Walls poster session.

Mr. Lim presented a class project, “Cornell Box Project,” that he designed for Script Analysis at an invited panel that was juried, accepted and published in USITT’s Teaching Archive.

When not engaged in the Tech Olympics, students served as volunteers for many panels during the four-day conference. Students were also on duty at information desks and attended panels that were led by professionals, educators and other specialists in the industry.

When the expo floor opened, students visited booths to submit their resumes to recruiters that represented graduate schools as well as theatre and other entertainment companies. Visits were also made to vendor booths to learn about equipment geared to the entertainment industry.

Todd Proffitt, professor of Lighting Design, serves as a commissioner for the USITT Lighting Commission.