Theatre design students at Concordia have some exciting news – they’re going to Prague! A group of students, and faculty, are participating in a week-long European excursion to meet and greet other design students, and professionals from around the world.
“Scenofest” is a design festival held in Prague every four years. Concordia students attended the festival four years ago, and a new group of enthusiastic students have signed up to be a part of the experience in 2007.
The students will participate in a design contest that is a big part of the festival. Each year a different play is chosen and the visiting students are asked to work on a design proposal for the show. Students design the lighting, set, costumes and props as if they were putting on the given show. This year the show is The Birds by Aristophanes. Once in Prague, teams of students from all over the world will present their proposals for the design of the show.
Azra King Abadi is one of approximately 20 Concordia students who will be heading to Prague in June 2007. She said the festival offers students a unique experience through the annual design contest.
“To be exposed to all these different people, and different ways of doing things, from around the world” she said, “. I think it’s great.”
Professionals within the field of design will also be presenting at the festival. Students will be able to choose different lectures to attend depending on the area of design they are most interested in.
Abadi said she and her fellow design students have been working hard to raise money for their upcoming journey. The total costs of the trip are expected to reach approximately $30,000.
The students have a permanent table on the Mezzanine floor of the Hall building of Concordia’s downtown campus where they can sell goods they make themselves. Abadi said they will be making everything from a calendar to fridge magnets; buttons to jewelry and clothing. She said the students involved are also considering more seasonal items like greeting cards for the holidays.
The group of design students will be organizing a “chair exhibition as another means of making some money,” Abadi said. Students will re-design old chairs and put them on show in Concordia’s EV building. A silent auction will be held at the exhibit for interested buyers.
Finally, the students will be holding a number of parties throughout the year. They are encouraging all Concordia students to come out and celebrate with them, all the while helping them on their quest to fund their trip.
Theatre design is a three-year program at Concordia. Students are required to take two introductory courses in their first year; afterwards they are able to choose a more specific area of design to focus on. Some students prefer to learn about lighting, while others are more interested in costumes.
Abadi said there are very few schools in Canada that offer masters degrees in theatre design. Most students who graduate from Concordia, she said, travel to other schools – mostly in the States, if they want to further their studies.
As far as getting work after graduation, Abadi said, “It’s always who you know in this business”. She said internships are organized through Concordia, and that they ideally lead to employment with the company. Securing a job, however – as Abadi said, can be a difficult task.
“Graduating doesn’t necessarily mean anything,” she said. In the world of art and performance, Abadi said, connections are crucial to finding work.
While they are still in school, the design students at Concordia can apply to work on one of the four shows put on by the university’s theatre department each year. This year the department will be staging The Gut Girls by Sarah Daniels, The Queens by Normand Chaurette, Berlin to Broadway with music by Kurt Weill, and Per/Son/Alia a collaborative show written by the participants. A special community-based performance called Theatre for Human Rights will also be presented, the writer for which still to be announced.
Theatre Design students involved in the trip have named their adventure “C U in Prague”. One will surely be hearing more from this ambitious group of students as they work hard to raise money all year long for their exciting voyage this coming summer.