May, 2019 Issue

From the Chair...




Membership Meeting Minutes (March, 2019)

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


Jim Alford Joins JTH
Productions Around the Region
Student and Early Career Scholarships to attend National Conference



• Member Renewal Form
• Mission & Information

Next Issue
































From the Chair

by Corey Shelsta, NBS Section Chairperson

Todd      As often happens to me in particularly long meetings, I found my mind wandering.  I was looking at the artwork hanging on the wall of the conference room I happened to be sitting in.  These particular pieces were donated by a former art professor at my institution.  I actually took Painting 1 and Painting 2 from her way back when I was a student.  Her husband taught Art History, in particular Modern Art, which I also took.  This led me to think about all of the art classes I had taken- 3D design, drawing, watercolor, multiple art history classes, figure drawing, and color theory (one of the most useful classes EVER).  I have drawn on my minor in art (pun intended) countless times in my career as a designer and educator.  I am really happy I chose to pursue that.
    All of this caused me to start thinking about courses that are good compliments to a theater major.  All SDSU students have to declare a minor so the question about which minor comes up often.  In addition to a minor there are other classes to fill out the 120 credit graduation requirement.  What sorts of classes are useful for a theatrical designer/technician?
    An art minor is a pretty obvious and common one.  The principles of design and composition are as relevant to theatre as they are to visual art.  Music is another that comes to mind for me.  I’m an amateur musician- I get my fingers tangled up in guitar strings now and then.  But the 10 years of piano lessons I had as a kid have really paid off.  Being able to read the scores for musicals and operas I have designed helps with placing light cues at specific points in the music.   And for a sound designer, having a solid understanding of musical styles and periods is as important to the work of sound design as studying fashion and architectural styles is for a costume or scenic designer.  For the  stage manager, being able to call a musical from the score is a very useful skill.
    We have had several students in our department over the years who double majored in theatre and construction management.  I think that is a great combination for an aspiring technical director.  We’ve had a few electrical engineering and theatre double majors too.  There are all sorts of opportunities out there in the live performance and entertainment manufacturing industries for engineers with a background in theatre.  When I walk in my dimmer room and see that the gateways and network switches outnumber the dimmers, I almost think a few classes in networking and computer science would be a good idea as well.
    This works the other direction too.  I have had students in other majors and disciplines take my theatre classes.  I have had interior design students take my scenic design class.  My colleague who teaches costume design often has fashion/apparel merchandising students in his classes.  Lots of Speech Ed, English Ed, and Music Ed majors take my Stagecraft class.  Their thought is that someday they might be directing the high school play, it will be a good idea to know the basics of technical theatre.  The most interesting crossover is that all of the Pre-Mortuary Science students take our Stage Make-up class.
    I teach the first half of History and Literature of the Theatre – basically the Greeks through French Neoclassical.  This semester I had a student take the class who was a Psych major.  For her final research project she did a psychological analysis of the character of Tamora from Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.  It was really interesting and quite well done.  It presented an approach to theatre from someone looking at it through the lens of another field.   Last time I taught this same class, I had a couple of English majors take it.  One of them did a great project on using Original Pronunciation in Shakespeare performance.  If you’ve never read anything about OP you should look it up.  It’s quite interesting.
    I guess the point of all of this is that it is a good idea to branch out and explore other fields and majors.  Gaining knowledge in many areas not only makes you a better designer/technician, but more marketable when you graduate.  And speaking of that, it’s that time of year again.  Congratulations and best of luck with your future endeavors to all of our graduating student members.    [ ]