Team of Kent State Theatre Students Selected as a Design Contest Finalist

A team of Kent State University theatre students is one of 10 finalists in the contest to design the United States National Exhibit for the 2015 Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design. Designs for an architectural and sculptural space with the theme “Art in Performance Design: Dreams of Here and Now” were accepted through February 8.

The design created by Team Kent will be exhibited among the other nine finalists at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Annual Conference in Milwaukee in March 2013. Following the exhibition at the USITT Annual Conference, the overall winning design will be notified April 20.

The winning design will be exhibited at the Prague Quadrennial, the largest performance design event in the world. The Prague Quadrennial serves as a unique opportunity for designers, artists, directors and students from all around the world to meet and exchange ideas every four years.

A team of seven graduate and undergraduate theatre students and one faculty member created the Team Kent entry for the United States National Exhibit design competition as part of the Design Studio: Scenery course in the School of Theatre and Dance at Kent State. Raynette Smith, associate professor of theatre and professor who teaches the course, said the students had the option to just submit a design for a grade, but the students decided to fully pursue the opportunity.

“Since the exhibit designs for the Prague Quadrennial have traditionally been famous designers, and because the adjucators for the competition were world-renowned theatre artists, it took some courage on the students’ part to actually submit a design,” Smith said. “They are really excited to have made it through the first round of judging.”

The following students collaborated on the exhibition design submission: lighting design graduate student Cynthia Hoffman, scenic design and technology graduate student Ryan Patterson, lighting design graduate student B. Nicole Rosecrans, scenic design graduate student Benjamin Williams, scenic design undergraduate student Candice Nemoff, undergraduate student Eric Preston and lighting design undergraduate student Carly Shiner.

The students’ response to the contest’s “Dreams of Here and Now” theme centers on the United States’ current financial instability and uncertainty. Drawing from the disparities between the economic top and bottom, Team Kent addressed the changes financial struggle has caused to the American Dream.

“In our exhibit design, we have dissected American society by looking at the grand and the plain, the crassly materialistic and the substantial,” Team Kent wrote in its submitted design concept statement.

Submissions were judged by the 2015 National Exhibit Curators Tony Walton, Carrie Robbins, and Kevin Rigdon and Artistic Director Marketa Fantova.

For more information about Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance, visit

POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2013 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 28, 2015 - 10:14am
Ellen Kirtner