Theatre Arts Students Win at USITT Symposium

Members of the Maverick Theatre Company are still celebrating competition wins from last month’s United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) Southwest Regional Section Winter Symposium.

Five Department of Theatre Arts majors won top prizes in eight categories at the annual event, held Jan. 16-18 at Texas A&M University in College Station. Theatre Arts faculty, Assistant Professor and Technical Director Daniel Archibald and Scenic Design Specialist Michelle Harvey, accompanied nearly a dozen UT Arlington students to the regional meeting.

The Department of Theatre Arts group that attended a recent theatre competition and symposium included (from left) Whitley White-Body, Elly Hunt, Austin Brown, Jorge Lanuza, Jailene Torres, Gatlin Douglas, Tiffany Cromwell, Taylor Adams, Alohilani Valdez, Raul Luna and Jesse Scott. (Photo contributed)
The Department of Theatre Arts group that attended a recent theatre competition and symposium included (from left) Whitley White-Body, Elly Hunt, Austin Brown, Jorge Lanuza, Jailene Torres, Gatlin Douglas, Tiffany Cromwell, Taylor Adams, Alohilani Valdez, Raul Luna and Jesse Scott. (Photo contributed)

“We are so proud of our student designers and technicians,” said Harvey. “It is wonderful to see their hard work and dedication to the craft of theatre and design being recognized by the regional conference and nationally recognized adjudicators.”

USITT is a national organization for design, production, and technology professionals in the performing arts and entertainment industry. The Southwest Regional Section includes members from universities and theatre companies throughout Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

The winter symposium offers members hands-on training, lectures and exhibitions regarding all areas of technical theatre. A major focus is the student design, technology and management competition, which annually awards over $30,000 in prizes in the form of scholarships, conference registrations, travel expenses and physical prizes.

For UT Arlington, first place prizes went to Austin Brown (for Excellence in Lighting Design), Tiffany Cromwell (for Excellence in Stage Management) and Alohilani Valdez (for Excellence in Scene Art). Raul Luna earned a second place finish for Achievement in Costume Technology. Elly Hunt won third place prizes in Costume Design and Costume Technology.

Valdez and Luna were also selected to the Gateway program, which pairs minority students with industry professionals. Both will begin their mentorship assignment at the USITT national conference in Cincinnati next month.

In addition to the competition, both faculty members presented workshops: Archibald weighed in on homegrown special effects – including a portable fog machine audiences will see during Theatre Arts’ production of “Into the Woods” later this month – and Harvey reviewed advanced 3-D printing. Archibald was also nominated for a board of directors position, a position in which he has served previously. Elections are held at the USITT National Conference and Stage Expo in March.

“This sweep of the student technical awards places UTA Theatre Arts Department and the Maverick Theatre Company (MTC) at the forefront of theatre excellence,” said Professor and Department Chair Kim LaFonataine, who also serves as producer of MTC.

UT Arlington and the Department of Theatre Arts will host the next regional winter symposium Jan. 15-17, 2016.

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Awards results (by student):

  • Austin Brown: Excellence in Lighting Design (1st place); winner of the Don Childs/Shuler Shook award for accomplishment in design
  • Tiffany Cromwell: Excellence in Stage Management (1st place); USITT national conference registration award
  • Alohilani Valdez: Excellence in Scenic Art (1st place)
  • Raul Luna: Achievement in Costume Technology (2nd place)
  • Elly Hunt: Costume Design (3rd place); Costume Technology (3rd place)

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