Women in Theatrical Design recordings available on YouTube
By Sofia Sallaway | Thursday, May 20, 2021
By Sofia Sallaway
Thursday, May 20, 2021
Those who missed the Women in Theatrical Design Lecture series presented earlier this semester by the Department of Theater can still view recordings of the event on the department's YouTube Channel. Four design professionals — Mimi Lien, Jane Cox, Jane Shaw, and Anita Yavich — gave presentations about their specific areas of theatrical design. They also held portfolio reviews for selected students in real time. This opportunity allowed the students to gain a professional’s perspective on their work and help prepare them for the start of their careers after graduating.
All four recordings have been gathered into a YouTube PlayList for easy viewing below — watch all four in sequence, or tap the icon at upper right on the screen to select the video you'd like to watch:
As the students learned from these talented women, the design faculty did as well.
“Each speaker embodied unique strengths that positioned them for success in the profession," said Scenic Design Professor Anya Klepikov. "I learned more about the path of each, which illuminated for me the way they create. Even though I was previously familiar with their work, understanding where they were coming from as artists enriched my appreciation of what they were searching for and what they had achieved artistically and professionally.”
While some presentations included information about the artistic and career journey of the design professional, others focused more on design concepts that drive them. All presentations were successful in showing a new perspective and connecting the material to larger societal ideas. “Jane Cox in particular had a great conversation with us about light vs dark (black and white) in lighting, and how it connects to the bigger topic of race,” said recent lighting and tech alum student Jordan Mitchell. She was part of the team that secured the funding for these presentations from Women for UMass Amherst and spoke on behalf of the lighting area.
The student review process allowed some students to receive feedback from the professional live on zoom, with other participants observing. Sound design Professor Altadonna mentioned that “Jane [Shaw]'s comments about portfolios and communicating with directors and employers was incredibly insightful, but even more valuable were her insights and observations about the designs at the heart of the portfolios.”
Other design faculty add that they learned a great deal from these women that can be incorporated into their idea of design. “From Anita Yavich, I learned the significance of a diverse view toward the world," said Costume Design Professor Yao Chen. "Jane Cox validated my practice of digging out the philosophical meanings of theater design choices. From both Jane Shaw and Mimi Lien, I learned the meaning of persistence and consistency.”