Students, Faculty, In UTC Theatre Work In Italy

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

When the curtain was raised on three different operas presented in centuries-old theaters around the Italian countryside during the summer, patrons saw the work of three UTC Theatre students and one faculty member.  Stephanie Henderson, costume designer and lecturer at UTC, took two students from UTC to help with costume design, and a third to work on set design.

Ms. Henderson has a little history with La Musica Lirica, an intense, five-week training program based in Novafeltria, a municipality in the Province of Rimini in the region of Emilia-Romagna.

  Beginning in 2011, she spent a few summers as a student intern in costume design for the nonprofit, which selects students and faculty from all over the United States.  In 2013, Henderson became the costume designer and in 2014, she again served in that capacity.

Student performers did not provide their measurements ahead of time, so Ms. Henderson had to improvise for the operas—mindful of different time periods, themes, styles, and a rotating cast. She purchased prom gowns at the end of the season and a lot of muumuus (loose fitting dresses) so they could be reconfigured for use on any body type.  For several weeks, she supervised the construction of costumes and then the operas went on the road, where the responsibilities continued at a feverish pace.

“It was the most intense experience ever,” Ms. Henderson confirmed.  “We usually get a day off to explore a little, but we did not have that opportunity.”

Rebecca Rouse, the UTC set design intern, worked on a variety of pieces, like a piano that was built from scratch, according to Ms. Henderson.  She also did set changes, set up, and helped dismantle the set at different venues.

"The UTC student interns who worked in costume design, Samantha Johnson and Cricket Glenn, were very helpful," Ms. Henderson stated.  "Ms. Glenn’s organizational skills were exceptional and she helped considerably by sewing the many waistbands that needed altering and the many hats that needed designing."

Ms. Johnson, who plans to graduate in spring 2015 and hopes to become a professional costume designer, went to Italy with some valuable experience she had earned at UTC.  She worked as a costumer in the University’s outstanding performance of Sweeney Todd in 2013.  In Italy, Ms. Johnson enjoyed the experience of another culture and type of audience.

“Sometimes as artists that cater to the same type of audiences continuously, we can forget the other worlds that exist in both perspective and concept. It was a bit of a challenge adapting to opera production from theatre production, which doesn’t seem like much of a shift, but it can be rather strange,” Ms. Johnson explained.

It was her first trip abroad, made possible with support from several UTC administrators.  Ms. Johnson was “truly grateful” for the opportunity.

“More than anything, I really enjoyed the experience of it all. I felt utterly in awe of every moment of it. I was able to live and travel in a wonderful place with a teacher that I respect, some great friends from UTC and some of the best friends I could ever hope to make while there, and in the process I was able to discover that there really isn’t much that I cannot find a way to handle. I learned how to be away from the home and the life that I have built for myself, to really be alone and not afraid to be a little stranded,” she shared.

Though the UTC group was challenged to keep the energy level high, Ms. Henderson said in the end it was worth it to see the vision become reality on the stage.

“Theater is not for the faint of heart,” Ms. Henderson said.  “It’s tough.  You can find work, but you’ve got to suck it up and do it.  And when everyone works together, it is amazing to see how it comes together.”


Hamilton County Residents Graduate With Honors From MTSU

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee sat down with several students, including three Hamilton County residents, to discuss their plans after their Dec. 13 graduation with honors from the university. Carly Duffy and Jalisa Jones, both of Chattanooga, and Kaitlin Pitre of Soddy-Daisy were three of the students recognized at commencement as cum laude (with honors), magna cum laude ... (click for more)

Cleveland State Introduces New Scholarship Program

Cleveland State Community College is proud to support Governor Haslam and the Tennessee State Legislature who have made higher education a top priority in our state. That is why CSCC is offering a new scholarship program to provide even greater value to the Tennessee Promise program.          “From the day Tennessee Promise was approved by the State ... (click for more)

Investor Group Plans $31 Million Hotel In Chattanooga Bank Building

An investor group announced that it is planning the development of an upscale 150-room hotel in the historic Chattanooga Bank Building. MCA is comprised of 20 EB-5 investors as limited partners with Red Leaf Development, managed by David Roos, as the general partner. Long-time partner PHG is involved in the development of the hotel and will be responsible for its management ... (click for more)

Police Say Texts From Slain Minister Detailed Drug Deals

An investigator testified Thursday that a minister who was beaten to death during an apparent drug deal had texts on his phone dealing with similar exchanges of illegal drugs. The minister's wife said he had gone out that night as part of a church counseling program to women. General Sessions Court Judge Clarence Shattuck bound charges of felony murder and especially aggravated ... (click for more)

Please Don't Close The Piccadilly Cafeteria At Hamilton Place

Oh, no. The Piccadilly Cafeteria at Hamilton Place is closing.  Its last day is Christmas Eve.  I will miss the great food they have there but most of all I will miss their servers, cashiers and waitresses.  They are all so friendly and accommodating.  They make it like it’s a home-style restaurant. I sure wish there was some way that Hamilton Place and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: God Bless Cathy & Co.

The secret to the whole thing is not getting caught but somebody at the Toys R Us store in Framingham, Mass., had a camera when Cathy O’Grady was very quietly paying off all the layaway balances at the popular location last week. The picture snaked its way onto social media sites and her friends quickly recognized the area’s most famous “layaway angel.” Then somebody in nearby ... (click for more)