Theatre students from the State University of New York at Fredonia chalked up their best performance in recent memory in Tech Olympics competition at the national conference of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) capturing three first places and a pair of second and third places.
The contingent – all seniors and members of the student USITT chapter – also returned to campus with second-best overall team honors. More than 125 students from over 20 schools from across the country typically attend the conference, held March 14-17 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this year, to compete in different skills challenges.
Brian Staton (Theatre Production and Design, senior, from Fairport) won first place in Knots, first place for Top Technician and third place for Moving Light.
Noah Scott (Theatre Arts, senior, from Remsen) and Bridget Catania (Theatre Production and Design, senior, from Melville) shared first place honors in Stage Management.
Erin Feil (Theatre Production and Design, senior, from Manorville) and Mr. Staton earned second place in Lighting.
Matthew Lang (Theatre Production and Design, senior, from Baldwin) and Mr. Staton won third place in Stage Management.
“It is a great environment for our students to test and try out their growing skills in a healthy and fun competition with their peers from other institutions, with the idea that ultimately, they all learn something new from each other and foster new connections in the tight knit industry that is theatre,” said Czerton Lim, faculty advisor to Fredonia’s USITT chapter and assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance.
This was the second year in a row that Fredonia earned a first place or tied for first. Fredonia, which usually sends at least 10 students to the conference and places in the top three in at least one event, placed third overall last year.
Todd Proffitt, professor and lighting designer in the Department of Theatre and Dance, said this year’s performance demonstrates that the skills of Fredonia students are on par with some of the best students in the nation.
The conference, observed Mr. Lim, is a fantastic breeding ground for sharing information on a national level and great for both professionals in the field and educators training the next generation of theatre artists and technicians on the most current trends in the industry. Networking opportunities also abound for students.
Also part of the conference were panels that covered a range of subjects and workshops that allowed for hands on application of new materials and techniques that foster open communication and the spreading of new information that is vital to the industry, Lim added. A trade show with vendors displaying new products was also held.