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May 2, 2011
CSU graduate Meghan Gray ('10) won the Barbizon Award for Theatrical Design Excellence in Lighting at the annual Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C., on April 23.
The national-level honor includes full tuition and expenses paid to attend the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas, specializing in hands-on training for cutting-edge, live entertainment technology, as well as a paid trip to the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space, the world’s largest performance design event, held June 16-26, 2011, in the Czech Republic.
According to the KCACTF website, “The purpose of the Barbizon Awards for Theatrical Design Excellence is to provide student designers with feedback from professionals working in the field; to give outstanding student designers national recognition; and to provide the opportunity for student designers to exhibit their work at the Kennedy Center. Designs will be appraised on the basis of quality, effectiveness, originality, and rendering techniques.”
The competition in D.C. was a week’s submersion in theatrical design. “We brainstormed, implemented, and talked design and theater from 8 a.m. to midnight daily,” Gray says. For the final round of competition, interpretations of the same scene from Naomi Iizuka's Language of Angels were designed and presented by all eight finalists. “Winning was a completely unexpected surprise,” Gray says. “There were many talented people there.”
Gray became eligible for the national contest by winning Best Lighting Design for her design for the CSU production of Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka at the regional Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, held in Arcata, Calif., Feb. 14-18, 2011.
“Polaroid Stories was one of my favorite projects as a student because it gave me more creative freedom than any other design I'd taken on,” Gray says. “My goal was simply to make the lighting an experience – not an unnoticeable element – for the audience and performers as well.”
Gray also received a sound design award at the 2009 KCACTF regional competition and is currently a master electrician for CSU’s Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance.
CSU senior Luke Peckinpaugh ('11) also competed at the national festival. Peckinpaugh won the coveted Irene Ryan Acting Award out of 408 actors, at the 2011 Regional KCACTF. His competition partner was Jeff Garland ('12).
The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival is a national theater program, with more than 18,000 participants annually, and according to the organization’s website, “[KCACTF] has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.”
CSU will host the 2012 regional KCACTF on Feb. 13-18. More than 1,200 participants are expected to attend the weeklong event being held at the University Center for the Arts and the Hilton Hotel.
CSU provides an enriched program where the study and practice of art, dance, music and theater are nurtured and sustained by building the skills and knowledge needed by future generations of arts professionals to become contributors to the essential vitality of our culture and society.
Link to a slide show of images of Meghan Gray and colleagues.
Contact: Jennifer Clary