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Feature: New Theatre Jacksonville Technical Director Designs Austen

Jon Jory's adaptation of Jane Austen's PRIDE & PREJUDICE posed significant scenic and lighting design challenges for Theatre Jacksonville's new Technical Director, Tim Watson. "You've got about 25 locations and you can literally change from one to another on a single line," Watson explains. "There's no way you can do full sets for each location, but it's written that way - to be minimal. It's difficult to jump between so many locations and be so fast and so fluid. Jon Jory didn't want black-out scene changes, so it's more of an environment rather than actual locations." Director Amy Canning agrees and calls the show "very minimalist, but seriously complex with lots of moving parts and pieces."

Watson and Canning collaborated on a set that uses portraits as a conceptual theme, featuring a large picture frame and two arches that echo the silhouette cameo locket featured on the production's publicity, poster, and program artwork. Along with Watson's scenic and lighting design, costume designers Tracy Olin and Curtis Williams respectively built most of the women's and men's costumes with Williams, Theatre Jacksonville's resident milliner, providing hats for the cast.

Canning has been thrilled with Watson's work. "He produces a very high-grade and professional product," Canning says. "And during Production Week, he's the calm in the storm. He is amazing to work with, super funny, and he has a lot of experience. He didn't need any time that I saw to learn the systems at Theatre Jacksonville. Plus, the set for the show is impressive. It's a big set and his painting technique is super professional. He definitely knows how to construct a solid design."

This is Technical Director Watson's first mainstage production for Theatre Jacksonville and he brings a wealth of design and production experience to the theatre. Watson earned his MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Florida and most recently served as the Assistant Technical Director at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre downstate, where he also managed the shop and ran most of the day-to-day operations. Prior to that, his resume includes about ten years as the Tour Manager for the rock group, Blink-182, and wearing "many hats" at the Omaha Theater Company, including Technical Director, Production Manager, and National Tour Director. In his "spare time," Watson continues to freelance in Scenic and Lighting Design, including contract work for Disney (he recently worked with the proposed Avatar expansion for Animal Kingdom) and national concert tours, such as the Dave Matthews Band.

Watson is excited about his new position at Theatre Jacksonville. "This was a chance to actually have a 9 to 5 that was just as much about design as it is about production," he explains. "In the past, design for me was kind of 'behind the curtain' - when I can, where I can - but this is where I actually get to design, which is what I really enjoy." As for working with local community theatre performers, Watson adds, "I have nothing but good things to say about the volunteers at Theatre Jacksonville. That is the nice thing about community theatre - you're working with people who are here because they want to be here. There's something to be said for that."

PRIDE & PREJUDICE continues through October 2nd, at Theatre Jacksonville on 2032 San Marco Blvd. For ticket reservations and more information on this and upcoming productions in their 97th Season, please visit the theatre's website at or call 904-396-4425.

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