Scenic designer Paige Hathaway is the recipient of the 2018 USITT Rising Star Award, sponsored by Live Design/LDI and presented annually at the USITT Conference & Stage Expo. With her MFA from the University of Maryland (2011 - 2014) and BFA from the University of Oklahoma (2007 - 2011), Hathaway is a member of USA 829, and company member of Solas Nua. She served as adjunct faculty at the University of Maryland (2014 - 2016) and has a busy schedule designing for various theatres, primarily on the east coast. Live Design chats with Hathaway on the eve of her award, presented on March 15, 2018 in at USITT in Ft. Lauderdale.
"I’ve always had a passion for fine art and had dabbled in acting, carpentry, and crew during high school," says Hathaway. "When it came time to look at college, I was torn between pursuing a major in fine art or finding a path in theater. When I started to consider scenic design, it became apparent that it was the perfect fusion of all my creative impulses."
She finds that her most challenging show to date was actually grad school. "The University of Maryland is an incredible program that has truly shaped me into the artist that I am today," says the Rising Star winner. "But it was also incredibly challenging and intensive. I got through that ring of fire, and now I know that I’m capable of just about anything."
In terms of the best advice she ever got, she admits: "I can’t pinpoint any one thing, but there are a hundred little idioms from grad school that are always swirling around my head when I design: 'Don’t put a hat on a hat;' 'Your design shouldn’t require a program note;' 'Don’t go down the wrong broccoli path;' 'What is it actually, actually;' 'happy family,' etc."
If Hathaway were to offer advice to student scenic designers today, what would she tell them? "Reach out to the scenic designers in your area and ask them questions. More often than not, they would love to talk with you and help you find your way into this strange career," she counsels. "They may even be in need of an assistant. Work hard, don’t burn out, and find ways to fill your creative cup!"
As her career advances, Hathaway continues to find that "every design presents an opportunity to immerse myself in the world of the play. I get to sculpt an environment with my fellow collaborators that plays an integral role in telling a story. For me, there’s nothing more fulfilling!"
Click through the gallery to see an array of her work.