There is starting to be a buzz in New York City about The Shed, a new concept for visual, performing, and multimedia arts on the West Side of Manhattan at Hudson Yards. The initial idea was to create a space to host larger projects for larger audiences than most of New York's current theatres. Designed by architects Diller Scofido + Renfro in collaboration with David Rockwell and Rockwell Group and Fisher Dachs Associates (FDA) as theatre consultants, the main high-tech feature of this 170,000 sq. ft. structure is a 140' retractable canopy that enables a nearby plaza to become an event space. Architectural lighting is by Tillotson, with acoustics by Akustiks. The Shed, scheduled to open in April, has big plans both architecturally and artistically, under the direction of Alex Poots.
When it comes to stage machinery, another buzz is about the sets for Robert Lepage's Wagnerian Ring Cycle, which returns to the stage at The Metropolitan Opera for the first time in six seasons. I wrote about the design when this high-tech production and its massive stage machinery opened in 2011: Ring Masters and The Met has posted this article about the revival: Rise Of The Machine.
The Ring at The Met; photo by Ken Howard
There is also a buzz in the biz about design programs in digital technologies as they become more prevalent. For college and university faculty who would like to integrate digital technologies into their curricula, and who would like to gain a deeper understanding of the technologies and techniques to make this possible, the National Endowment of the Humanities is offering a summer institute on Digital Technologies in Theatre and Performance Studies, free of charge to all accepted participants, with a stipend of $2,100 to cover travel and living expenses on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, GA from June 17 to 29. The application deadline is March 1, 2018.
Have you heard the buzz about the Oscars? A few awards were almost relegated to backstage, but they seem to have escaped the axe. But whatever is seen on stage on Sunday, February 24, it will be on a set designed by David Korins making his Oscars debut. While he can’t tell us much about those designs yet, I love this TED Talk about his design process, and we’ll follow up with him right after the live broadcast for the 91st Academy Awards.
And speaking of TED Talks, thanks to LD Richard Pilbrow for posting this one with Danielle Feinberg, who explains how lighting is the secret ingredient of the look of Pixar films.