The youngest recipient of the 2020 Pat MacKay Diversity In Design Scholarship, presented by Live Design in collaboration with USITT and TSDCA, Christopher (Chris) Alan Moore II is a lighting designer and programmer from Chicago, IL, and a rising freshman at University of Illinois Urbana Champaign. He will be studying Theater Design and Production (lighting design and programming concentration). Chris was awarded the 2020 Mike Nielsen Student Award for technical theatre. He recently was lighting designer for his last musical, Disney's Newsies. Chris aspires to continue creating unique designs in a fun and enjoyable career through college and on. Some of his other performances include The Nutcracker at Reva and Logan Center in Chicago (programmer), The Dickens Carol at Madison Street Theatre (spot op and technician), and Darkling at Theatre Wit Chicago (associate lighting electrician) under Benjamin White (IATSE). Chris strongly believes that theater needs more diversity on the technical side.
Live Design: Why did you apply for the Pat MacKay Diversity In Design Scholarship?
Christopher Alan Moore II: I applied to the Pat McKay Diversity in Design Scholarship because I think it is important that the world of theatre design includes and uplifts diversity, specifically diversity between the black and white community who are interested in working in the technical field of theatre. Organizations like this are very important to me because it shows that they really want the best for everyone even in the black and brown community.
LD: What made you interested in the field of lighting design?
CM: It really came to me when I saw my first musical, which was Dear Evan Hansen, and I was really interested in how they did every single cue or design. It became a passion to do lighting during my life when I did my first dance showcase in high school, and I felt so connected to the show and design that I felt like I should make this a career. Now that I have been in technical theatre since middle school 7th grade, I am able to obtain the knowledge that I didn't know while getting education in middle and high school while I am in college and make my way to be successful in life.
LD: What are your career goals?
CM: I have always been incredibly drawn to dance. I hope to work in the area of dance lighting design, as well as some theme park entertainment because ever since I went to Disney, I really fell in love with the lighting for events and shows.
LD: How can the industry better serve underrepresented communities?
CM: The industry of live entertainment, we need to do a better job talking about diversity. We have to start looking at diversity as an ongoing milestone to the best way to bring enjoyment to the community within theatre and live entertainment.
LD: Who or what are your influences, in terms of people or events?
CM: Growing up with a family who went to school for medical, I feel that I can connect with them as an enjoyment when they are putting their life on the line for their community. I can help my community with live entertainment because live entertainment is fun and relaxing and people can take a load off and relax and not worry about work or their jobs. My number one influence like I mentioned previously is my family.
LD: Are there particular challenges you have faced?
CM: I personally have faced some challenges in technical theatre for being black. Many black and brown people are on stage and I am doing technical theatre and many people have come to me saying, "Why are you doing this? You should be singing and being dramatic." I take the comments that I received from being negative and turn it to a positive in ways I can be successful and make them regret saying what they said. I have come this far with negative people in my life, and I feel great because I have received such great coaching from wonderful people who see the best in me.