TSDCA, in partnership with Questex’s LDI2021 and USITT have announced the 2021 winners of the Pat MacKay Diversity in Design Scholarships. The awards are funded by LDI and Live Design and support students from underrepresented backgrounds in the field of entertainment design.
The scholarships are named for Pat MacKay, former publisher of Theatre Crafts International (TCI) and Lighting Dimensions and founder of the LDI trade show. She is a USITT Fellow and has mentored multiple generations of industry professionals.
The 2021 scholarship recipients for the sound category are:
In September, Mia Teboe will be a sophomore in the Sound Design BFA program at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. She hopes to work in the industry as a production sound engineer or designer but plans to go back to school for a graduate degree. Whatever part of the industry Teboe finds her niche in, she intends to found a youth technical theatre program and specifically reach out to disabled children so that they know they have a place in the theatre.
Michael Tellez is studying sound in the Design/Tech BFA program at the University of Arizona, class of 2022. He has over a dozen shows under his belt and has already met his dream mentor, Abe Jacob. Tellez says he was impressed just by watching ‘The Godfather of Sound’ when he was involved with the Arizona Repertory Theatre’s productions of Pippin and The River Bride.
The 2021 recipients in the lighting and projections categories are:
Taylor Gordon studies lighting at the University of North Carolina, School of the Arts. In September she will be a junior on the lighting design track, but she also has a strong interest in projection design and has focused on teaching herself content creation and 3D modelling. After graduation she hopes pursue a career in projection design for Broadway, theme parks, concerts, and installations. Gordon’s interest in projection was inspired by the work of Peter Nigrini’s immersive and interactive work on Dear Evan Hansen.
Noelani Montas is about to start her final semester at the University of the Arts studying lighting. She is working on a Capstone project that will incorporate programming and design, and she hopes to go to graduate school after finishing her first degree. Ultimately, Montas would like to be a multidisciplinary designer and is inspired by the work of Es Devlin.
Camryn Banks is part of the class of 2023 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts studying lighting design. She spent the first two years focusing on technical training but is now confident enough to plan design projects outside the classroom in collaboration with the School of Film, to learn how to light for the camera, and the Schools of Dance and of Drama to expand her experience.
Banks would like to start a non-profit arts organization to serve the greater Atlanta community where students can learn about technical theatre.
Maliyah McCall will graduate from Columbus State University in the Theatre Design/Tech program in May 2022. She wants to pursue a career in stage electrics and lighting design but is also interested in teaching, as long as she can remain part of the theatre community. Traveling around the world working and learning in different theatres is also a career goal, so she can contribute new perspectives to the industry. A dream mentor for McCall would be lighting designer Porsche McGovern, who impressed her with creativity and honesty about the industry.
Mikkhail Noel Serrano
Mikkhail Noel Serrano is part of the class of 2024 at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in the lighting design program. Serrano is particularly interested in using his lighting skills in multimedia design and delving into the dramaturgy to use both lighting and projection tools to best illustrate the script. His career goals include designing for live performance but also to develop an outreach program to encourage more minorities to study technical theatre and design.
Each student will receive up to $5,000, spread over a maximum of eight semesters, or $1,250 per year, paid by semester directly to the school. In order for the students to get the next year’s payment, they must show progress toward their degree, show at least a 2.5 GPA, and provide a letter of support from their mentor with an update on how they are progressing as designers.
All sound recipients and honorable mentions will receive a three year supporting membership in TSDCA.
Jessi Cybulski, LDI show director, comments, “After a difficult year for both the industry and technical theatre students it is really a delight to be able to give some good news to these young people.The caliber of their work was impressive and their commitment to the arts has already been tested. We look forward to seeing the impact they will have in the future and wish them every success.”
TSDCA judge and sound designer Melanie Chen Cole adds: “This year I was blown away by the talent of all the applicants. This is my third year participating in the judging process, and I am delighted by all the new and wonderful sound designers emerging all over the country. It’s so exciting that the Pat MacKay scholarship will help fund a portion of their education, providing a platform where young artists from under-represented communities get an opportunity to further pursue their interest in the field.”
All the winners have been invited to attend the 2021 LDI Trade Show and Conference in Las Vegas in November, where they will have the opportunity to meet with leading designers and other industry professionals, and to experience the many learning and development opportunities offered during the event.
Many thanks to our partners at Questex’s LDI and USITT for their support in this initiative.