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.”



2 New Scholarship Applications Open For Future Teachers

The Chattanooga-Hamilton County Retired Teachers Association (CHCRTA) on Tuesday announced that applications are open for 2018. The scholarship program is made possible through generous donations from members to support the future of education.  Ms. Sharon Vandagriff, president of CHCRTA said, “Providing scholarships for future teachers is one of the most important things ... (click for more)

Taylor Right At Home With CSCC’s Honors Program

Cleveland State student Jackson Taylor thought he had it all figured out after he finished Towns County High School in Georgia. The Georgia native planned to go to the University of Georgia on a baseball scholarship and major in engineering, but after hearing about CSCC, he weighed both options and decided on the smaller school in Tennessee.  Mr. Taylor had also planned ... (click for more)

Witness Says Christopher Turner Shot Jamichael Eddins Multiple Times After He Was Already Down At Carousel Road

Police said Christopher Lashawn Turner stood over 24-year-old Jamichael Eddins on Carousel Road late Tuesday afternoon and fired multiple shots into him after shooting him moments before.   Turner, 26, of 1203 Sholar Ave., was charged with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and possession of a firearm.   Randall Davenport, 28, was ... (click for more)

County Commission Approves Sizable Pay Increase For Magistrates

The County Commission has approved a sizable pay raise for its four magistrates, taking them from the current $66,000 per year to $92,000 by 2021. The raises will take effect beginning with new terms for magistrates. Two of the current magistrates are up for re-appointment in May. Their pay level will become $80,000. It will rise by $4,000 per year until reaching the $92,000. ... (click for more)

Reflections On Billy Graham

Sandra and I are saddened this morning after learning of the death of Billy Graham. We rejoice today, because Mr. Graham once said "It will be reported that Billy Graham has died, but that won't be the truth. He said the truth is that he had only moved to a new location".  I remember when we named 15th Street as Billy Graham Avenue, his daughter Gigi came for the dedication ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: One Principal’s Reaction

On the morning after the mass shooting in Florida last week, a 17-year-old at Ledyard High School in Connecticut made an offhand comment during his first period class, “I could buy an AR-15.” At that, all the teachers panicked. Really. The school was soon so rattled by the comment the principal called the cops. And those five words got the child shackled, taken into custody, and ... (click for more)