Ithaca College Scenic Designer Lands a Spot in USITT Mentorship Program

Syracuse, N.Y. --Ithaca College senior Randy Wong-Westbrooke, a theatrical production arts major concentrating in theatrical design, was selected for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Gateway mentorship program. It provides mentorships for students that are underrepresented based on race/ethnicity, disability, gender, and sexual orientation.

"A lot of conversations about diversity and inclusion are about casting, and the stories we tell, and discussions about how representative of the world you are behind the stage and behind the scenes is not often talked about," said Wong-Westbrooke.

As part of the program, Wong-Westbrooke who is biracial Asian-American attended USITT's annual conference last March. The conference has featured opportunities to learn about new theater technologies and meet others working in the performing arts.

The conference had several panels and conversation groups on diversity and inclusion, including a panel on women in theater, a queer nation roundtable, and a people of color network giving, giving participants the chance to talk about their experiences, ask questions, and have conversations about what working in the performance art is like for people belonging to minority groups.

The conference also gave the young scenic designer an opportunity to meet his mentor, Britton Mauk, a set designer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

"Those of us belonging to underrepresented communities, it can be easy to feel like we're all alone and isolated," said Wong-Westbrooke. "To be able to talk to a professional that's gone through the ropes, at least a little bit, is really inspiring and empowering."

After graduation, he plans to work as a freelance set designer.

USITT was founded in 1960 to promote dialogue, research, and learning among practitioners of theater design and technology.

Photo: Sandy Phillips

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