While working on her high school’s talent show, Rachel Atkinson, now a third year lighting design graduate student, realized how simply changing the color of the lights could entirely transform the stage.
This year, Rachel designed the lighting for the new play by Suzan Zeder, The Edge of Peace.
“This is a great opportunity for me to make contacts with theatre professionals who will push me to develop new levels of craft,” she said. “Additionally I hope that this production will help me launch my career as a freelance lighting designer.”
Rachel says that she knows she has grown as a person, thinker and artist during her time at UT, and she hopes that she’ll continue to have new opportunities and experiences.
“Last spring I was able to design the projections for a dance piece, something that previously I had never done before,” she said. “Lighting design and media design are wonderfully complimentary fields, and I expect that my art and my work will be stronger and more interesting as a consequence of deepening my study.”
The cross between performance, storytelling and technology is heavily influencing Rachel’s thesis project, an interactive performance game that will invite the audience to experience the story by participating actively in the scenes using smart phones among other things. This communal, interactive experience mirrors Rachel’s feelings on the significance of art.
“I think the arts are important because they can both challenge us individually and as a society to be stronger and better,” she said.