Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Interview with Clare Burnett, Lighting Designer


From: Arizona Women's Theatre Company [mailto:jbs720@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2014 6:39 PM
Subject: Step Into The Light







Interview with Clare Burnett, Lighting Designer





Interview with Clare Burnett, Lighting Designer

By Daniella Crispo-Talarico


Daniela Crispo Talarico. has had the pleasure of working with Joy Bingham Strimple on the past three Pandora Festivals and in an effort to assist her this year she is contributing writer of designer profiles for the website.


I am thinking that we can begin our conversation with a few questions and as you respond to them I will develop following questions from that point. I sincerely appreciate your taking time from your busy schedule to enlighten our readers about your work and life.


I have been designing for N2T for three seasons and before that for ten years for Tempe Live!/Tempe Little Theatre.  After TLT closed its doors just before its 40th season, I did not actively seek a new company to design for because my full time job kept me extremely busy.  And the talent pool of designers in Phoenix is very competitive.


I understand that you work as a lighting designer with Nearly Naked Theatre. How did you develop a working relationship with them and how old/new is this relationship?


Damon Dering (Artistic Director and founder of Nearly Naked Theatre) sent me a contact email several years ago when he was looking for a lighting designer for Shakespeare's R and J.  He had seen my work at Tempe Center for the Arts and an actress that had done work with both of us recommended me to Damon.  I find the relationship both fulfilling and rewarding. When I am not designing a show for N2T, I often function as master electrician.


What part of being a lighting designer interests you the most? Which designers would you consider to be mentors or influences?


Probably what I most enjoy about designing is the creative process that starts with words on a page and the creative process and emotional investiture that helps bring the director's vision to fruition.  While I can't point to any one designer as offering me more inspiration than any other, I do draw my ideas from the director and those actors that are involved in each production.  That is why the art of lighting design is so fleeting.  No cast and director and play are ever exactly the same, even if the subject material is an exact match, the people involved have changed.


Can you tell us a little bit about your background in general along with training in this field? Are you from AZ?


I have a degree in theatre from a small college in Ohio where the department at the time was only about 30 students, so it engendered a lot of individual attention.   I would consider Dr. Jack Winget a mentor and a respected friend from Baldwin- Wallace University.  While I was in undergrad I worked for Berea Summer Theatre for four years in the scene shop and assisting backstage for plays and musicals doing props and assistant backstage management.  I also worked for the Cleveland Ballet as assistant to the lighting designer for two seasons (an autumn season program and the same again in the spring).


Is there a particular production or piece of work that you are the most proud of? And why?


I am proud of all of my designs.  And my specialty is the use of color (and lots of saturated color) My favorite production is the one on which I am currently working.


What guided you to become interested in lighting design?

I became interested in the design/tech aspects of theatre when I was in high school and knew I didn't have the temperament for acting or directing.
  A high school honors project involving the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival led me to choose a university level study of technical theatre.

.If people are interested in seeing the gallery of my work (though photographs of lighting are but pale shadows of the original design) they are welcome to look up my profile on Facebook.
  I believe the gallery of design photos are open to all.







This season our intent is to feature the women behind the the scenes.  The ladies who make it happen on the stage, who bring the mystery and the magic to the performance.  These ladies are the lighting designers and they are rarely featured in the hoopla of the show--without them--the performers are 'in the dark'...watch for a monthly interview with these fabulous artists!




Joy Bingham Strimple





No comments: