CLEARWATER - Zev Buffman, Ruth Eckerd Hall president and CEO, announced the first Technical Theater Career Training class will be held on the main stage at Ruth Eckerd Hall Thursday, Sept. 27, from 1 to 6 p.m.
Fifty students from 15 Tampa Bay area high schools and colleges made the cut, enrolled in the program, and will participate in this hands-on workshop and class that will focus on lighting and production for the stage. Instructors associated with the internationally known entertainment production company PRG leading the seminar.
“As we know, TODAY is all about jobs, jobs, JOBS,” said Buffman. “We are going to actively and immediately prepare the young people of this community to go forth and get a job, with real skills they can use RIGHT NOW in the entertainment industry! No other performing arts center in the nation offers this FREE collaborative opportunity.”
Dr. William D. Law, Jr., President of St. Petersburg College, commented, “This is an important part on the technical side, especially to the disenfranchised student. This speaks directly to our mission!”
The reaction to this unprecedented “instant” unity among so many educational organizations is nothing short of amazing. Talks only started in April of this year and it is a full GO!
“This is an amazing opportunity for our kids,” commented Mr. Keith Mastorides, the Principal at Clearwater High School. “You (Buffman) build it and we will come!”
“This has been a dream of mine, the arts melded together,” said Mr. David Barnes, Director Career Tech & Adult Education and Pinellas County School Board member.
“We may not have high-speed rail, but we’ve got a causeway and we’ve got the arts,” said Haig Mardirosian, Dean of the University of Tampa’s College of Arts and Letters.
This first of a series of four day-long seminars, all facilitated by PRG, Inc; will zero in on the latest techniques for stage lighting of Broadway, concert and special event performances. All aspects of pre-show and post-show production will be examined. The fifty students will be divided into groups of five and will rotate among the 10 stations on the stage every hour, being trained by TEN out-of-town professionals in specific applications of the newest innovations in lighting and production.
Each hour during the six-hour seminar, there will be a ten-minute Q&A segment to ask questions about what participants have just learned.
The fifty students enrolled in the program will also have multiple opportunities to shadow touring show crews and staff backstage in small groups for numerous upcoming performances at Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theatre in Downtown Clearwater. This will be a hands-on experience, seeing and learning up close the tools of the trade needed to excel in a “Tech” industry that has only 3% unemployment!
A wide variety of industry experts has been assembled for this first seminar on lighting and production.
Production Resource Group, L.L.C., (PRG), Jere Harris Chairman/CEO is the world’s leading supplier of entertainment and event technology providing integrated services and equipment, including audio, video, lighting, rigging, staging, scenery and motion control systems. Its clients include many of the world’s most visible live events, including Broadway productions such as the Tony Award® winner Phantom of the Opera, NFL Super Bowl half-time shows, the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, telecasts such as the Academy Awards®, GRAMMY® awards, and stunning concert productions for Lady Gaga, Madonna, U2 and more. PRG has also created productions for corporate events, trade shows, and permanent installations, such as theme parks, museums, retail stores and performing arts centers around the globe. Tyler Wise & Rich Rubin are leading the PRG effort.
From its more than 31 locations throughout North America, Europe, Asia and Africa, PRG offers the world’s largest inventory of state-of-the-art equipment of any entertainment or event technology company. PRG’s staff is the most qualified, experienced, and knowledgeable in the industry, making PRG the go-to company for the world’s entertainment and event technology needs.
Tom Littrell will lead the Master Class Seminar. Since 2004, Tom has been the Fixtures Product Manager at Electronic Theatre Controls in Middleton, Wisconsin, managing the Source Four product line and working with the team developing ETC’s LED products and LED strategy. Previously, he was a touring lighting technician, moving light programmer and lighting designer, working with many concert artists such as Led Zeppelin, The Who, Paul McCartney and Wings, David Bowie and Genesis.
In addition, there will be Breakout Session presenters including Caroline Rault. Caroline began working with Rosco, in 2007 and since 2009, has been the South Atlantic Account Manager. Prior to her tenure Rosco, she held several positions within the performance arts and entertainment industry including as managing director of a youth school of performance and playhouse in Athens, GA and as being the associate producer of the thirty-five million dollar Lauren Lloyd/Dean Devlin produced New Line feature film, CELLULAR. She also worked in feature casting at 20th CENTURY FOX on more than 50 films.
Steve Aldrich, currently the Field Project Coordinator for Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC’s) Southeast Office, has worked as a lighting designer and programmer for more than 15 years. Before starting at ETC, he worked as a Creative Designer at SeaWorld in Orlando.
With 20 years of experience in the lighting industry, Tom Stanziano has worked with Celebrity and Disney Cruises. In Nashville, he worked as a lighting designer for Opryland USA Theme Park and Technical Director at The Renaissance Center. His current appointment with Philips Strand Lighting allows him to impact the entertainment market by demonstrating and speaking on the proper use of lighting techniques.
Julie Mauséy joined Altman Lighting in 2011 as the Southern Regional Sales Manager. She covers the 11 states in the southeast. Prior to joining Altman, Julie worked for PRG developing permanently-installed entertainment technology solutions for theatres, television and film studios, museums, auditoriums, churches, performing arts centers, and many other types of live performance venues and themed environments. Before joining PRG, Julie worked on a variety of high-profile projects, including installations at NBC Studios, Sony Wonderland, Christian Life Assembly, and a variety of other television, church, and corporate applications.
With more than 35 years in the entertainment business, Thommy Hall, the Southeast Region Sales Manager for Philips Vari*Lite, is responsible for dealing directly with concert, corporate, theatrical, architectural and house of worship lighting designers as they specify products. Thommy also regularly speaks at colleges and does product demos while still occasionally designing for concerts, corporate shows and trade shows.
Students, teachers and parents from the entire bay area high schools and colleges are encouraged and invited to observe these extraordinary classes from the Ruth Eckerd Hall auditorium. They will be invited to participate in a Q&A segment with all instructors during and at the end of the session. They will all receive a packet of information about the seminar they are witnessing. There is no fee and those interested in attending do not need to register. Doors will open at noon for general seating in the Ruth Eckerd Hall auditorium.
Upcoming seminars include Sets and Scenery Design at The Capitol Theatre on the set of the Florida premiere of Agatha Christie’s The BBC Murders, Sound and Sound Effects and Audio Visual Design and Equipment. Future seminars will include Costumes and Wigs, Stage and Screen Make-Up, Broadcasting and Recording, Marketing and Publicity and Management and Business Administration. Dates and times will be announced later this year.
For more information, please contact The Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall at 727-712-2706.