Mark Shanda

Mark_ShandaColumbus, Ohio

Inducted as a Fellow: 2013

Your earliest memories of the Institute...as in how far back do you go?

As an undergraduate, I first heard of USITT from my professor who came back from the Kansas City conference proudly displaying a brown folder with a hot air balloon printed on the front.  My first engagement with USITT was when I attended the Oakland Conference in 1986.  I remember my first Technical Production Commission meeting being led by Bob Scales and assisted by Rick Stephens.  As various people in the room made suggestions for future programming and project ideas, Rick would run up to them, give them his business card, and thank them for taking charge of making their idea happen.  This was a great example of volunteer conscription that has worked so well to advance the institute.

Does anything stand out as your favorite USITT memory?

Many of my memories revolve around the meals that I have shared with colleagues and friends at various conferences.  One of the most memorable was one organized by my good friend Barry Cleveland when we were in Fort Worth in 1996.  About twenty of us, including Louis Bradfield were taken to a favorite barbeque place of Barry’s.  Two-thirds of the way through the meal, with delicious food being served family style, someone asked what kind of meat we were eating.  The answer was Cabrillo (goat).  When translated, the look on Louis’ face was priceless and I have never laughed so hard in all of my life.

Short list of your career highlights?

I came to Ohio State in July of 1986 with a plan to stay two or three years and I am still there. 

Highlights include:

  • Technical direction of over 250 productions, co-authoring Drafting for the Theatre with fellow Fellow and mentor Dennis Dorn
  • Conducting program reviews at several colleges and university throughout the country as well as the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts twice
  • Being awarded the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival Medallion
  • Chairing the Department of Theatre for five years
  • Dean of Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2010

List of your involvement in the institute:

  • Ohio Valley Section Vice-chair for Programming
  • Chairing Tech Expo committee
  • At-large member of the Board of Directors
  • Technical Production co-commissioner
  • Serving as Technical Director for the 1999 PQ entry
  • Serving as Vice-President for Communications
  • Being named a Fellow in the class of 2012

Short list of memorable USITT characters who have made a different in you:

  • Dennis Dorn, my major professor, writing partner and friend
  • Stan Abbott for his many Stress and Wellness seminars
  • Dr. Doom (Randall Davidson) for raising awareness about Safety
  • Jay Glerum for his outstanding work in educating so many about overhead rigging
  • Henry Tharp for proving that one can grow older gracefully
  • Zelma Weisfeld for speaking her mind and asking others to “Speak Up!”
  • Leon Brauner for setting an example about working with Commissions
  • Chris Kaiser for providing me a whole new respect for fiscal responsibility
  • Joe Aldridge for placing the membership first in his presidency
  • Rick Stephens for cherishing our history and speaking his mind as well

Anything you want to say about being a fellow?

I was both surprised and honored when I was named a Fellow last spring in Long Beach.  I highly value my USITT involvement and advocate for any and all theatre designers and technicians to join this great organization.

Anything I would like to add about what USITT means to you personally?

This organization has enabled me to stay connect to a field that I love and to people who I care about who share a common bond in their love for the process of creation of live production.

List of publications:

Books:

  • Drafting for the Theatre (2nd Edition), Southern Illinois University Press, 2012, Co-authored with Dennis Dorn of The University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Drafting for the Theatre, Southern Illinois University Press, 1992, Co-authored with Dennis Dorn of The University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Technical Design Solutions for Theatre Vol. 2, Focal Press, 2002 Bronislaw J. Sammler, Don Harvey - Foreword

Articles:

  • “Stock Stage Lift Components”, Theatre Design and Technology, Co-authored with Chad Mahan Fall 2011
  • “Jaroslav Malina Paintings and Design – Exhibiting a Master”, Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 2009                             
  • “Tracking Down Tenure” Stage Directions, November 2009
  • “Cross Continental Collaboration” Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 2007
  • "Stage Rigging Handbook, 3rd Edition - Book Review," Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 2007
  • "The Health and Safety Guide for Film, TV & Theatre, Book Review," Theatre Design and Technology, Summer 2002
  • "The Essential Technical Direction Library" Sightlines. August 2001
  • "The Staging Handbook - Book Review," Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 1998
  • "Stage Rigging Handbook - Book Review," Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 1997
  • "A Turntable Drive Mechanism," Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 1997, with Jim Knapp
  • "USITT Guideline for a Standard Technical Information Package," Theatre Design and Technology, Spring 1996, with Dennis Dorn and Happy Robey
  • "Parenting and the Theatre" Sightlines, July/August 1993
  • "Elektromagnetisch decorkoppelingen" Zichtlijnen (Dutch Theatre Journal), December 1991, Co-authored with M. Barrett Cleveland of Colorado State University
  • "Electromagnet Scenery Locks," Theatre Design and Technology, Summer 1991, Co-authored with M. Barrett Cleveland of Colorado State University
  • "Improving Graduate Education: Changing Our Priorities," Design for Arts in Education, March/April 1991
  • "An Ethafoam Rod Splitter," Yale School of Drama Technical Brief, January 1991
  • "Low-Cost Large Format Slides" Theatre Crafts, December 1990, Co-authored with M. Barrett Cleveland of Colorado State University, in association with Media-Com Inc.
  • "Retrofitting Projectors to Interface with a Microcomputer Lighting Controller" Theatre Design and Technology, Fall 1989, Co-authored with M. Barrett Cleveland of The Ohio State University
  • "Low Cost Transparencies for Large Format Projectors Using the Polaroid Instant Slide System"' Theatre Design and Technology, Winter 1988, Co-authored with M. Barrett Cleveland of The Ohio State University
  • "Gelatin Molds, a Low Cost, Flexible Negative Mold Material," Yale School of Drama Tech Briefs. October 1987

List of Books that I recommend:

See "The Essential Technical Direction Library" Sightlines. August 2001

Mentoring?

In any respect that might be useful

Contact: Shanda.1@osu.edu