BWW Blog: And The Award Goes To ...
This past weekend, five of my classmates and I traveled to Huntsville, Texas to compete in the USITT Southwest Winter Symposium Student Design, Tech, and Management competition (long title, I know). For people who don't know, USITT is the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, which hosts a big technical theatre conference each spring in a different city. USITT Southwest Winter Symposium is kind of a smaller version of that. It's held in a different southwestern city every year (usually in Texas), and has workshops that participants can attend, in addition to the SDTM competition.
I personally hadn't competed in anything since high school speech and debate, and I had definitely never competed with my own theatre work. For this competition, I brought my production electrician work on To Kill a Mockingbird to display. There was a set of rules I had to follow, such as not having any school names on any of my work I was presenting (this is very important- it can lead to disqualification if you aren't thorough). The competition requires you to set up either a 4x8 board or a table, depending on what area you're presenting. Sound and stage management typically get tables, and everything else typically gets a board. No one from my university had ever taken a production electrician presentation to USITT SW, so I had to figure a lot of the unspoken guidelines out by myself. On my board, I had a concept statement (which is required for all USITT SW presentations), my prepped plot, pieces of paperwork I made or helped to make, and show/process photos, with a binder full of paperwork and notes next to it.
We got to Huntsville Friday night, set up our boards for 20 minutes, then came back at 8 am the next morning to finish setting up. When it was time to present to the judges, we each got 5 minutes to talk the panel through our boards, and they had five minutes to ask us questions and give us critiques. I am not a natural public speaker, so I was a little bit nervous for this part (I was later told by my friends that my face did in fact turn bright red during part of my presentation). My judging panel was so kind, and it went a lot better than I thought it would! The best part about this experience to me is that we were allowed to go look at everyone else's boards, and listen to other people's critiques if we wanted to. I was able to hear all of my friend's presentations and be a friendly face for them, which I absolutely loved.
Awards were Sunday night, and I'm happy to say that all 6 of us won at least one award! I personally was awarded Achievement in Technical Design, which was really fun and also unexpected. I'm going to another competition this semester, KCACTF, which is bigger and has even more people competing, so I'm glad my first design competition was a little smaller to help ease me in better. This experience was overall really good, and I'm glad I took a chance and went!