Forums Past and Present
Every autumn the American Society of Theatre Consultants sponsors an ASTC Forum for members to explore in depth an idea or theme pertaining to performing arts facilities. The Forum typically revolves around tours of performing arts buildings and seminars related to the theme.
The ASTC Forum 2015 will be held September 25-27 at the Hotel Dupuy in New Orleans. Our theme is “Renovations” and our tentative plans include tours of recently renovated Saenger Theater, which was heavily damaged during Hurricane Katrina and the Old US Mint, which has been renovated to include a music venue. Our members will also share presentations of particularly unusual or challenging renovation projects. As we always do at each of our gatherings, we make time to discuss various topics of interest and to share the benefit of our experience and practices with our colleagues across the US and Canada.
The theme for our ASTC Forum 2014, which was held from October 2-5 at the JW Marriott at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles, was “New Technologies in Theatrical Facilities.” Our goal in establishing this theme was to explore new technologies, particularly the rapidly growing use of solid state lighting for both architectural and theatrical sources, projection in lieu of physical scenic elements and how we can ensure our facilities are prepared to accommodate the rapid technological changes of the 21st Century.
We toured the 7,000 seat Microsoft (formerly Nokia) Theater and the 2,300 seat Club Nokia, both located within the LA Live complex. We also toured two recently renovated facilities, the Inglewood Forum (17,000 seat concert venue) and the Center Theater Group’s Mark Taper Forum (739 seat thrust venue within the LA Music Center complex.) Edward Kaye, ASTC, organized the lion’s share of the logistics and with the help of Tom Folsom (Club Nokia and the Mark Taper Forum) and Rene Garza, ASTC (Inglewood Forum) organized our tours.
Our theme topic was broken into 4 modules, organized by ASTC members. Chris Purpura, ASTC presented on New Creative Technologies. Peter Scheu, ASTC, presented on Infrastructure for New Creative Technologies. Van Rommel, Director of Development at Pathways Creativity and Peter Rogers, of Forman & Associates spoke to us about LED lighting control related issues. Our third module was a lively Lighting Designers panel discussion with LA based designers Anne Militello and Brian Gale. Our final module was a very informative Projection Designers Panel Discussion with designer/director Tim La Valley, who has created video content for music shows and broadcast events, director and video artist Peter Flaherty, Arianna Knapp, Director of Theatrical Operations, Communication & Strategy at SenovvA, Inc. and Tristan Valencia, Executive Producer of SenovvA, Inc. Jack Hagler, ASTC, Jules Lauve, ASTC and Heather McAvoy, ASTC helped to invite our panelists.
The goal of our Forums is to provide continuing education for our members by engaging with our peers on various topics of mutual interest, visiting newly built and renovated venues and learning how audiences, performers and technicians interactions with facilities are evolving. In our LA Live Forum, we explored innovations in live performance production and learned from our venue hosts and our panelists how our design decisions can best support the work of creative artists.
By Heather McAvoy, ASTC