The United States is assembled from a multitude of fragments – of geography, of ethnicity, of language, of poverty and wealth. The United States is not a monolith, available to the eye from a single viewpoint. It can only be understood through its contrasts and interrelationships. These differences, whether destructive or productive, inevitably become part of the generative work we create as theatrical designers.
Our exhibit, a singular, house-like structure built from salvage materials provides a space for comparison and excavation of the multiplicity that makes up the US theatrical design landscape. The home, as a signifier of place, belonging, identity, language and culture, is an influential lens upon design.
The work of the chosen artists and their responses to prompts about HOME are presented on adjacent screens, creating conversations between aesthetics and identity. The control of the visual and sonic landscape is in the hands of the viewers, using a digital interface, the spectators can engage in a real-time visual and aural dialogue with one another and the work of the designers.
The process of making this structure is inherently linked to its design; derived by sourcing material from salvage yards, discarded sets and remnant materials donated from theaters across the country. The origin of each piece used in the assemblage is marked with its place of origin and the name of the production it was created for. The development of environmentally conscious approaches to material collection through gathering and repurposing of objects that represent the aesthetic abundance of the country, asks the viewer to see design as an act of critical engagement with the world. The project suggests that even the most mundane of materials, when imbued with a history of performance, can become a rare object.
As the theaters reopen, they are seeking ways to rebuild and restructure themselves. Companies and designers with rich and differentiated perspectives are moving in towards the center, garnering attention and leading the way. Now when conscientious practices are being given more focus, resources and care, this rare moment in history is shifting the ways we approach collaboration and opening out to a more expansive future.
Yoon is an award-winning set & costume designer and academic. She has lived and worked on three different continents and is passionate about cultural exchange and the learning it brings. Yoon continues to design internationally in Europe, Asia, and America.
Scott is a lighting designer and educator working in a diverse array of performance mediums, including theater, dance, music and opera.
Scott is an avid hiker and backpacker and when not in the theater can often be found scaling his way up a mountain to enjoy the views from the top.
Luke Cantarella works primarily as a theatrical stage designer. He has a lovely daughter named Tosca and a very talented wife, Christine Hegel, a legal and economic anthropologist who teaches at Western Connecticut State University.
Anna Driftmier is a creative director and production designer whose work extends across the US and Europe. Anna actively collaborates with a wide range of artists to produce visually powerful, genre-breaking new and revived pieces of work.
Richard Hoover is a scenic designer, production designer, and art director for theater, television, and film. He won a Tony Award for scenic design for the Broadway production of Not About Nightingales (1999), and is known for his work on the television show Twin Peaks.
Stan Mathabane is a sound designer // audio engineer // music producer // actor // lyricist based in NYC, by-way of Portland, OR – the coastal opposite of their birthplace, High Point, NC.
Tanya Orellana designs performance spaces for theatre and opera. She has been a core member of the award winning ensemble Campo Santo since 2008, participating in their intimate new work process, conceptualizing and designing sets alongside the writing process.
Attilio Rigotti is a Chilean theater-maker, video-game designer, and teacher. Along with Orsolya Szánthó, founded GLITCH, a company that seamlessly combines digital and physical mediums to create new forms of storytelling. Their technology design has been featured in collaborations with Kaki King, Kennedy Center, and The Juilliard School, and their video design work has been a part of Broadway and off-Broadway productions such as Macbeth and White Girl in Danger. Attilio’s work as a director has been recognized by the New York Times, Vulture, and American Theatre Magazine. He was a New York Theater Workshop Artist Fellow from 2022-2023, and was twice awarded the O-1 visa for extraordinary artistic achievement.
Orsolya Szantho is a London-based Hungarian multidisciplinary artist, working across filmmaking, live performance, and interactive design. Her projects investigate the relationship between the organic and the digital, with a focus on crafting experiences that move and connect people. Orsolya trained and helmed projects in the UAE, the US, the UK, Cuba, India, and China, through collaborations with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard TDM, The Juilliard School, Broadway’s Best Shows, Seize the Show, Movement Research, Imagine Science Film Festival, and the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba. With Attilio Rigotti, Orsolya co-founded the arts company GLITCH, focusing on creating work that intersects interactive and digital media with physical experiences and live performance.
YOUR DESIGNER IDENTITY: NATIONAL or EMERGING
USITT understands designers and theatre artists span a breadth of career trajectories and self-define in a multitude of ways. USITT considers National Designers to be visual creators who work in any genre of performance – but do not identify as an Emerging Designer.
For this selection process National Designers, unlike Emerging Designer, are defined as professionally established and/or beyond five years of embracing their unique identity as a practicing visual creator in any genre of performance.
In these submissions, designers self-select the category—National Designer or Emerging Designer—that better represents their design work. They were asked to note connections held with USITT Affinity Groups and Design Approaches listed fully on the Your Designer Identity page.