Spotlight April 2015

<![CDATA[Spotlight April 2015: CTC, From Acting to Carpentry, & Fractal Dragons!]]> Spotlight April 2015: CTC, From Acting to Carpentry, & Fractal Dragons!
News, Events, Interviews, and More!
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April 2015
A Note from Wu Chen

History is the ultimate piece of narrative theatre: it shapes our outlook; it informs how we choose to live and work. More than just a dry collection of dates and names, history can give full voice to the wealth of experience and innovation that has taken place. Different people remember and relate to things differently. History is not objective; history is storytelling.

With that in mind, we’re launching a new regular column series in which people (predominantly from Production specialties) write about their memories and thoughts on the history of Twin Cities performing arts.

Naturally this is not a comprehensive picture. I approached these authors: I made an active decision on who writes here, even if I don’t know about what. We do this all the time. But particularly in a field built around telling stories and shaping thought, this is something we would do well to keep in mind.

We begin with Sound Designer C Andrew Mayer musing on the legacy of the Children’s Theater Company, which was a large part of his own history. Please follow us as we begin this fascinating journey through our community, as seen through the eyes of some of our fellow residents.


Wu Chen Khoo
Tech Tools co-founder and Operations Director

Tech Tools Calendar of Events

Monday, April 6th - Freelance Designers Panel
6:30pm Theatre in the Round Players
Let's talk about the different faces of freelancing, being resident, the big issues that affect us, and how we make it work.

Monday, April 13th - Employment Law
6:30pm Park Square Theatre
Join practicing employment law attorney and William Mitchell professor Nancy Miller-Levin for a seminar and discussion focusing on employment law, worker’s compensation, and employee’s rights as pertains to the arts and entertainment industry! Bring your questions!

Monday, April 13th - Tech Tools Meet-up
8:30pm Great Waters Brewing
Join us immediately after the Employment Law panel discussion for the April Meet-up! RSVP on Facebook.
Monday, April 20th - Women Stagehands Panel
6:30pm Macalester College

Join our panelists for a discussion on the positives points and challenges of an evolving stagehand culture from the female perspective. 

Fri., April 24th - Sat. April 25th - Automation Workshop - SOLD OUT
Guthrie Theater Scene Shop

Monday, April 27th - Stage Management Panel
6:30pm Children's Theatre Company

Join Children’s Theater Company Production Stage Manager Jenny Friend and Theater Latte Da Production Stage Manager Tiffany Orr as they talk about careers, access to the industry, and all the things they wish they had been told! 

Visit our Events Calendar for information!

Not seeing something you'd like TTT to offer? Let us know HERE!

Sightlines:Children's Theatre Company


A Continuing Legacy Remembered

Article by 
C. Andrew Mayer, Sound Designer


At the time that I first embarked on my theatre career, you couldn’t swing an oversize elephant costume in this town without hitting three people who’d either worn it or dressed someone in it. The Children’s Theatre Company and School had been active for 20 years or so, and had served as a training ground for an entire generation of young theatre artists and technicians; rarely did I encounter anyone in the professional community who hadn’t spent some time there. With half a century behind it now, and alumni working in every corner of the national performing arts community, CTC has made an unparalleled contribution to the collective level of excellence.

The arc of CTC’s initial success must have seemed nothing short of astonishing to those who witnessed it... 

Read the full article HERE!

From Acting to Scenic Carpentry

An Interview with Max Gilbert

I met Max last summer, when he was one of our scholarship students (along with Terri Ristow) for our welding classes at Rarig. Max works at Bedlam. Soon I started running into him all over the place. I knew he wanted to work full-time in technical theatre and remembering my own struggles when I was starting out, I wondered how things were going.

Max Gilbert: ...But then I kind of became more disillusioned with acting, as I think a lot of people do, as they get out of school and into the world a little bit and realize what’s really going on with it. But I loved being in theater and I loved being around the theatre environment...I was sitting around like, “Oh shit, what am I gonna do?” And all of a sudden, Grant (from Science Museum of MN) called me back and then I heard from the Guthrie. Then all of a sudden this build from Bedlam was going on. So I feel pretty fortunate so far... 

While delving deeper into making a living in the arts and having switched paths to do so...

I think that is definitely sways public opinion about what it means to work in the arts or be an artist. There are three options: you’re a successful artist, you’re a starving artist or you’re a trust fund kid who has some sort of means to support yourself through that. I think that definitely has an effect on how people view careers in the arts.” You’re pursuing that, that’s great. How are you going to survive?” My family, when I wanted to be an actor was like, “That’s great, follow your dreams, but how are you going to live?” There is a lot of skepticism when you say you’re in the arts... 

Wu Chen Recommends...

This month is for all the educators out there.

3 years ago, my cousin Zoel suddenly demanded, “You know about fractal dragons, right?”

I did not. Horrified, Zoel showed me this. I was riveted. To the detriment of many responsibilities I would quickly devour the rest of the videos and anxiously hover, waiting for more. While my ardour has cooled over the years (I’m hardly as passionate over the Tau-Pi debate as she is), I still think that she’s one of the most amazing teachers out there. Her style is engaging, deeply intelligent and never condescending.

Not infrequently I have thought, “If I could be like Vi Hart, I would call my life worthwhile.”

I suggest starting with the Doodling in Math Class series and going from there.
Lead Carpenter Nate Saul leads a rigging workshop at the Guthrie Theatre - safety first!
All the photos used in this publication are copyrighted to Farrington Starnes and used with permission.
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