May, 2017 Issue

From the Chair...




The College of St. Benedict & St. John's University- 3 positions
Central College- TD/ Generalist


NBS Fall Conference
Annual Conference and Stage Expo
Newsletter Archive Links
 Time to Renew Your Membership?


JTH Lighting Alliance Adds New Employees
Schuler Shook Announces New Partner & Adds New Senior Lighting Designer
Productions Around the Region
Student Scholarships to attend National Conference
2018 Annual Conference & Stage Expo



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

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From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd     I wanted to write about summer this time, but I am finding that difficult.  When I drove to work this morning there was SNOW on the ground.  There is not supposed to be snow on the ground on the first day of May!  Oh well.  That’s the joy of living where we do - 70 degrees one day and snow on the ground the next. 
    I am somewhat envious of my colleagues in other academic disciplines.  Their semesters are winding down and they are planning things for the summer.  A conference perhaps, a trip to do some research.  Lots of golfing, a softball league, gardening, hanging out at the local waterpark with their kids, etc.  The stuff people do over the summer.  As my semester winds down I am getting busier.  How does that happen?  Summer theatre!
    Concepts, research, designs and construction drawings for the two shows I am scenic designing are done.  Well… almost done.  A couple of drawings still need to be finished.  But I’m pretty confident I can have those done by the time we start in two weeks.  A stack of lumber seems to have appeared in the scene shop over the last few days, so that is a good sign.  The racks in the costume shop have character labels on them in preparation for the myriad of garments that will soon be hung there, which is also a good sign.  Boxes of spare lamps, gaff tape, spike tape, glow tape, duvetyn and other such things have been arriving at my office.  Yet another good sign.
    Now as much as I would rather spend time in the sunlight than in a dark theatre over the summer, I generally enjoy doing shows over the summer.  The tight production schedule, the fast turnaround between shows, trying to balance the needs of multiple productions – it’s stressful but exhilarating at the same time.  I can’t think of a better way to learn skills in time management and problem solving than doing summer theatre. 
    We have a lot of great summer theatres in our region.  Each operates a bit differently, but there are many similarities.  The one that I am involved with is based here in Brookings and we do four shows.  Once we have them all opened during the month of June, we take a few days off, then truck them to another theatre 60 miles away and run them all again in July.  We have definitely learned to be thorough in our transportation and remounting process.  We learn a lot from our mistakes as well.  Imagine getting ready to start a shift from one show to the next and realizing all the tools were left back home, an hour away.  Yes that happened once.
    Summer theatre also gives us a chance to try new things.  The way our theatre operates, and I know some others do this as well, is that you might have the lead for one show, be working in props for the next one, and running a followspot for yet another.  Sometimes it forces us out of our comfort zone.  An actor is now responsible for sewing a costume or building a platform.  An aspiring lighting design student might find themselves in the chorus of a musical.  I have stepped out of my comfort zone as well last summer and will be doing so again this summer as I direct one of the shows in our season.  It’s been a lot of fun, and I have learned a lot from my experiences directing.
    But enough of my rambling.  I still have a couple of finals to grade, more supplies to order, and a rehearsal schedule to put together.  Congratulations and good luck in your future careers to all of our student members who are graduating.  And I hope all of you working in theatres over the summer have safe and successful seasons bringing your creative work alive on stage for your patrons.        [ ]