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Join Technical Production's Vice Commissioner for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for a free-ranging panel discussion with a group of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) folx working in technical production. Panelists will share stories and experiences from their careers into technical production, speak about the intersection of their identity and their careers, and answer questions from attendees. Be sure to check the USITT Technical Production Facebook page for updates on the panelists who will be joining us, as we get closer to the date of the session. Questions for the panel may be submitted in advance at email@example.com./p>
Presenter: Mary Jean (MJ) Sedlock is the Vice Commissioner for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Technical Production Commission. She works as the Production Manager & Technical Director for the University of Maine Theatre/Dance Division, the Production Manager for Opera House Arts, and the Production Manager for the International Performing Arts for Youth's annual showcase. She has been a USITT member for more than a decade, previously participating in the Board Mentorship Program and serving as the Vice Commissioner for Mentorship in Technical Production.
For over 80 years, 10-out-of-12 technical rehearsals and six-day workweeks have been seen by theatre workers as mandatory in their schedules. In trying to uphold the spirit of “The show must go on”, theatre practitioners in both professional and academic settings have repeatedly pushed themselves far beyond their physical and mental limits, jeopardizing both their health and their future. In 2021, a new working partnership has been created by a group of designers, stage managers, actors, production managers, health/safety professionals and other theatre artists to finally address and demand change in theatre workers’ schedules. This initial session will lay out the reasons why these changes must be made as well as begin to chart a new path for how theatre can operate in the future. Moderated by scenic designer Regina Garcia, this panel will include Lindsay Jones (co-chair, Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association), Rachel Spencer Hewitt (founder, Parent Artist Advocacy League), and stage manager Lisa Dawn Cave.
Lindsay Jones is a composer and sound designer whose work has been seen on Broadway, tours, regional theatre, television, film, and gaming. He is the Co-Chair of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association.
Rachel Spencer Hewett is an equity actor with an MFA in Acting from the Yale School of Drama. During her time at the Yale School of Drama, she received the Pierre-André Salim Award: The Pierre-André Salim Prize is awarded to third-year students at the Yale School of Drama whose artistry, professionalism, collaborative energy, and commitment to the community have inspired their colleagues, and who show distinct promise of raising the standard of practice in the field. She is a Baker Duncan Scholar and received her BA in Drama from Trinity University in San Antonio. Rachel’s professional acting repertoire includes Broadway (King Charles III), Off-Broadway (The Seagull directed by Max Stafford Clark, the New York premiere of A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel and directed by Tina Landau, and Peter and the Starcatcher at New York Theatre Workshop), extensive regional work (Shakespeare Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Yale Repertory Theatre, Bay Street Theatre with director Michael Wilson, and more), international theatre, feature films, and more.
Regina Garcia An Illinois-based scenic designer, Regina has had long-standing relationships with the St. Louis Black Rep, The Cherry Lane Theatre, and renowned Latino theaters including Repertorio Español, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, INTAR, and Pregones Theater. Regina is a Fellow of the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers and the Princess Grace Awards, USA. She is a company member with Rivendell Theatre Company and Teatro Vista, in Chicago, and a Regional Associate Member of the League of Professional Theatre Women.
Recent completed projects: TimeLine Theatre, GALA Hispanic Theatre (Helen Hayes Nomination), Arizona Theatre Company; with upcoming projects next season at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Victory Gardens Theatre, Milwaukee Rep and Steppenwolf Theatre.
As an Advisory Board member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, Regina is co-champion of Café Onda’s La Esquinita; the production notebook for Latinx designers and artisans working on stages across the nation.
Lisa Dawn Cave is a stage manager, choreographer, performer, and director on Broadway and beyond.
A discussion as part of the USITT Conversations series about Lift the Curtain: an organization whose goal is to end unpaid internships in the theater industry. We have assembled a group of panelists, who work in the professional and educational sectors of theater, to have a discussion on empowering emerging theater professionals, investigate equitable paid internship programs, and elucidate the benefits that said internships yield.
Lift the Curtain's Mission: To envision a theatre industry in which socioeconomic privilege is not a prerequisite for success. We will carve accessible entryways to our industry by abolishing the practice of unpaid labor.
Moderator: Eric Hart. Professor of Stage Properties at The University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Presenters: Natalie Taylor Hart. Associate Professor of Performing Arts at Elon University.
Karen Loftus. Senior Program Manager of Theatrical Workforce Development Program at Roundabout Theatre.
Kimberly Chatterjee. Senate Team Manager for Be an Arts Hero and AEA Eastern Principal Delegate.
Tracy Armagost. Production and Recruiting Coordinator at The Santa Fe Opera
Collaboration Conversations brings together directors and designers to talk about their joint art and how each derives inspiration from one another. The series focuses on the relationship between these roles in all types and scales of production.
Moderator: Yolanda Williams.
Alejandra Cisneros is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine. She directs and produces in Los Angeles with her work including the cult-classic superhero series El Verde!, Chisme y Queso for Center Theatre Group, the West Coast premiere of In Love and Warcraft at the Los Angeles Theater Center/Artists at Play and Los Vampiros del Norte for East LA Rep. She is committed to amplifying diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in all her work.
Recently Alejandra has collaborated with Center Theatre Group’s Community Partnership program through library readings, new work commissions and costume displays in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles. Prior work includes producing events for Grand Park, Downtown LA and Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre. Alejandra is an alumnus of Director’s Lab West, a NALAC Leadership Institute Fellow, a Directing FAIR Fellow at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a Nathan Cummings Young Leaders of Color recipient. She was awarded a Leadership U: One-on-One grant, funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and administered by Theatre Communications Group.
Anthony Aguilar is a lighting designer having designed for many productions for the Rosenthal Theater including the Big Orange Door series. He is also a writer with several plays performed throughout the Los Angeles area. Productions include the punk rock musical, Little Red (Casa 0101, 2015) and El Verde (Casa 0101, 2008 / TeAda Productions, 2009). Staged readings include: El Verde (Center Theatre Group, 2014) and Emma & the Suzies (Center Theatre Group, 2015 / Teatro Vivo, 2017).