Technical Director, LSSU Arts Center
This year I went to USITT in St. Louis, MO to research lighting and sound equipment that would improve the health of our technical theatre system and allow us to have higher quality tours come to Sault Ste. Marie.
First, the soundboard. I was lucky enough to get a spot in a beginning sound technician workshop where we worked on actual soundboards. The board we were using was the one that Scott and I have been looking at for the theatre, so it was a great test drive. It is a digital board with 32 channels. It is smaller and lighter than the analog board we currently utilize. It is intuitive and easy for beginners to learn. There are about three different ways to do the same function, so depending on your learning style, this board probably has a function that will work well with your brain. It is the same brand as the smaller mixer we use for movies.
I also spoke with ETC lighting. They referred me to Lighthouse in Green Bay, which would be our ‘local’ lighting dealer. They would like to do an assessment of our space and create a plan for moving us toward ETC lighting. This would help with tours that want to bring their ION boards with them and plug into our system. It would also help with some lighting challenges we’ve been having. The last big piece of information I have is that I spoke with OSHA. They have a program where they send someone out to evaluate our theatre and tell us all the safety regulations we need in place. This is done without the threat of being fined. As I understand, we would need to lop Wendy Beach into this process.
The rest of my time at the conference was spent in sessions discussing challenges of technical direction, learning more about sound mixing, and lighting for dance. I also made some contacts with other women TDs at small programs who I can troubleshoot our challenges with, and see how they grew their programs.
All of which will benefit the Arts Center at Lake Superior State University. We are moving toward a healthier technical system, I have learned some new skills that will be of great use with upcoming events, and I have started creating a support system that will help me create a quality technical theatre program for our students.