The Renovation Challenge for 2016
A career in theatrical design or stage crew work isn’t the only choice for technical theatre students. In an effort to expose students to other available career paths, ASTC and The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) teamed up in 2014 to create the ASTC-USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge. The Challenge is a long-term project where ASTC Members “mentor” teams of university students to plan and design a theoretical renovation of an existing facility.
By working together with an ASTC professional theatre consultant, the team explores how a facility is used and impacts live presentation. Teams are given wide latitude to determine what will be renovated and how to present their work. Projects may include modifying an existing theatre or even repurposing an existing building into a new performing arts space. Along the way, the team will learn about and solve many of the issues that arise when designing a renovation. Students may solve problems such as how to get a 21-foot piece of pipe onto a stage, or how to provide integrated accessible seating for the audience. In the end, the team will learn to look at buildings differently.
The Challenge is a juried contest in two parts. The team first presents a design with renderings, plans, and other documents explaining their intent. Then, at the annual USITT Conference, the teams conduct a live presentation in a session where an ASTC jury makes a final decision and award. The next USITT Conference will be held in Salt Lake City, March 16-19, 2016.
For the 2015 Challenge, Yale University graduate students Jeong Sik Yoo and Mitchell Crammond, under the supervision of faculty advisor Matt Welander, teamed with Gene Leitermann, ASTC. Their renovation plans for the University Theatre at Yale won the top prize after their presentation in Cincinnati. A large team from DePaul University, working with Joshua Grossman, ASTC, won the Merit Award for their renovation plans for the Merle Reskin Theatre (formerly Blackstone Theatre) in Chicago.
For more information and the application for the 2016 ASTC-USITT Student Theatre Renovation Challenge, CLICK HERE. The application deadline is October 31, 2015.
By Paul G. Sanow, ASTC