Department of Theatre Represented in National Design Forum

Jacob Hofer, third-year MFA Lighting Design candidate
Courtesy of Michael J. Riha

Jacob Hofer, third-year MFA Lighting Design candidate

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas and Department of Theatre will be represented this year at the 24th Annual Young Designers' Forum, to be held at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology Conference March 17-18 in Salt Lake City. 

Jacob Hofer, third-year Master of Fine Arts Lighting design candidate, is one of 15 students invited to this highly competitive design forum. Hofer will present a retrospective of his design work and receive one-on one critiques by an invited panel of elite professional designers and directors from across the country and abroad.

Hofer is only the second participant from the U of A and the first Lighting Designer to receive this high honor. Holly Payne, a 2004 MFA graduate in costume designer, was the last designer to participate in this event and has gone on to a successful professional career as a freelance costume designer working at places such as the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, American Players Theatre and the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

The Young Designer Forum was the brainchild of the late USITT members Sarah Nash Gates and Bill Forrester in 1992. The first year of the forum featured 10 young designers who were completing their final year in an MFA, Bachelor of Fine Arts or Bachelor of Arts program in theatre design. If selected, a exclusive panel of professional designers and academicians will review their work. Three to five designers are selected to represent each area of specialty (lighting design, costume design, set design, properties design, and make-up/puppetry design) depending on the quality of submissions.

The Young Designers' Forum is populated by students from many of the top theatre programs in the United States, including the University of California San Diego, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, North Carolina School of the Arts, and the University of Missouri –Kansas City. Many of these schools are conservatory type programs where candidates focus their entire academic career on the development of their artistic and design skills. Candidates at the University of Arkansas work to develop their design and artistic skills as well. However, they are also required to strengthen their abilities and techniques in technical theatre as well.

It is the philosophy of the design and technology faculty at the U of A that young designers entering the highly competitive entertainment industry need to have a wide range of talents and abilities in order to rise above others who are also entering at the same time. By challenging them as designers as well as technicians, the hope is to widen their opportunities for employment, ensuring a long and prosperous career as a theatre artist.

 

Contacts

Michael J. Riha, Chair
Department of Theatre
479-575-3612, mriha@uark.edu

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