May 2011 Issue   

Late Night Musings from the Chair


•  Education Panels at Charlotte
Learning Through Helping
USITT National Conference 2011
Iowa's Diverse Cultures Explored
Medieval Mystery Play Staging


  • Schuler Shook
  • Contributing, Sustaining & Organizational Members


Section Notices

 • Websites and Digital Portfolios Needed
  • Time to Renew Your Membership?

Production Casebook

Dance Fans for White Christmas

Who's Minding the Store?


Resources & Info

  • Member Renewal Form
  • Mission & Information

Late Night Musings

by Todd Reemtsma, NBS Section Chairperson

Is it easy being green?
In my daily life, I certainly do my best to be a responsible citizen of our planet, but admittedly there is always room for improvement.  I do my best to recycle materials, compost, choose products manufactured with less harmful chemicals, but I definitely could do a better job of walking and biking to run errands.  Even as you read this article, the USITT-NBS has done a little part to help the environment by saving on paper and issuing the electronic format of the newsletter (although a few electrons may have been inconvenienced).
ToddIn most theatre situations, it seems that due to budget constraints, we are almost always forced to “reduce, reuse, and recycle”.  For decades we have used our ingenuity to work within our means, which are typically very little, and to use “found” materials and try to reuse them show after show after show.  Certainly this frugality will continue to prevail, but with a focus on being “green” and taking care of our planet, we are asked to be even more diligent in considering where the materials we are using come from and what effect their production and use have on our atmosphere.  Whether it is lumber, paint, dye, or even lighting fixtures, we are encouraged to choose products that are produced/manufactured with responsibility to the environment.  The difficulty, of course, is that this all too often means at a greater cost than the less expensive, less responsible alternative, when we are already on a limited budget.  What I wonder is whether or not we will see a paradigm shift in the production values of theatre as we leave traditional methods and materials behind and find ourselves in a world of recycled building materials, fabrics, and LED illumination?  In a lot of ways I feel like an “old dog” and set in my ways of “how it’s been done forever”, but I am doing my best to stay open-minded and am excited about the possibilities of what the “new world” of theatre could look like and the role that the theatrical community can play in environmental leadership.  I think we will continue to see more and more presentations at each USITT Annual Conference on this topic and I hope that many of our members will be some of the folks helping drive this change.  My question for you – What are you doing to be green?
It was great to see so many NBS members at the USITT Annual Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina a couple of months ago.  Probably the most rewarding item of our section meeting was the opportunity to present our scholarship winners and congratulate them in person.  One of the items that we covered at the meeting, that is particularly exciting to me, and hopefully to all of our membership, is the formation of a committee to investigate how we can better serve and involve people that have graduated from their programs, but have not yet established themselves in academic/professional positions.  I hope that we will get a thorough report from this committee at our Fall Conference and that we will all have a chance to help move this endeavor forward.
And speaking of the Fall Conference, please make sure that you have marked your calendars for the 2011 USITT-NBS Fall Conference at Hamline University this year September 16th & 17th.  We are always looking for ideas for presentations as well as recommended presenters.  Please send your ideas to our gracious hostess and Event Chair, MaryBeth Gagner.


Renaissance Response

In the March 2011 Issue of the USITT-NBS Newsletter I broached the topic of an individual renaissance and I posed the question: 
When you find yourself in those moments, what is it that helps trigger your “renaissance”?  Is it the same thing every time or davincisomething similar?  If you don’t mind sharing what has worked for you, I would appreciate it if you would drop me a line so that I can write a follow up article in the next newsletter.
Needless to say I am a little disappointed that no one offered any responses to my question.  But being true to my offer to follow up with an article, I can only provide an example of one.
When I have found myself in a stagnant mode of creativity, art forms other than theatre have most often been my inspiration to provide my own personal renaissance.  Sometimes it is a matter of heading to the library or online to look at visual art or to listen to different forms of music.  One piece of music that has been my muse on many occasions is the song “Color and Light” from Sunday in the Park with George.  It would obviously seem fitting that a musical about a visual artist could certainly provide the motivation to find your creativity and push your boundaries.
In spite of the lack of responses, I hope that each and every one of you has the tools and resources to find your own renaissances.   If you still care to share, please drop me a line.  I, for one, would certainly like to know how you do it.