By Ashley Dillard
Hey IU theatre fans! I’m back with another feature on one of our awesome faculty members, Paul Brunner. Paul is the Technical Director and Head of the Theatre Technology program and although he feels much more comfortable behind the scenes and out of the limelight, I am excited to share with you what he’s been up to!
Paul was recently elected Secretary of USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) and will assume a 3 year term this July. He will attend the USITT National Conference in March in St. Louis and take part in leadership meetings! Paul’s duties will include bringing new perspectives to solve problems and fostering a proactive and respectful atmosphere for all!
Paul is also continuing his 16+ years of research in sustainability within the theatre. “Greener” theatre has always interested Paul and he’s teamed up with Olivia Ranseen, a sophomore environmental management major, on a case study of our recent production of The Duchess of Malfi. They will be writing an article highlighting this case study and its findings; it will appear in the Summer or Fall edition of the USITT journal Theatre Design & Technology . Paul and Olivia’s work has been outstanding and they continue to look for ways to implement lasting changes in IU’s productions towards a more environmentally sustainable future. Head over to this Indiana Daily Student article to read more about their endeavor!
I originally wanted to talk Paul about his work with theatre sustainability, a subject I find fascinating. However, I became even more interested in Paul’s sabbatical research project exploring a broader range of career opportunities and a new sense of self-sustaining careers for arts and theatre students. Paul is investigating what kind of careers are available to theatre artists, specifically technical theatre artists, outside of the theatre industry. “The Cultural and Creative industries unpacks complex creative and artistic processes and evaluates those products and services common among a wide range of specialties. Theatre arts is included in these specialties, but the extent to which theatre ‘makers’ – the highly trained and specialized creatives, craft persons and entertainment engineers who are the engines behind all live performance events – have hardly a token of influence in this body of knowledge.”
Paul has found very limited information that discusses the intersection of technical production for live entertainment and the creative industry. He is hoping that by delving into research of how these industries can interact harmoniously, he can bring new and exciting career opportunities to his students. Pending grant funding, he will be attending the Pave Symposium: Arts Entrepreneurship In, With and For Communities, at Arizona State University in May as part of his sabbatical research.
To top it all off he is also taking a class, “Problems in Higher Education” in the Higher Education Student Administration (HESA) program at IU’s School of Education. “The class itself is fascinating to learn the forces that shape the problems facing higher ed.”
Many thanks to Paul for his work to enrich our department! Our faculty are always working to not only broaden their own knowledge of the theatre industry, but also to bring new opportunities to their students!
Thanks for reading this Faculty Spotlight and look out for the next edition!
Ashley Dillard is a 3rd year MFA actor at Indiana University. She has been seen most recently as Kate in Dancing at Lughnasa at IU, Katherine in Home at the BPP, Marianne in Sense and Sensibility and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream both for IU Summer Theater. Though she calls beautiful Bloomington home now, she originally hails from Highland, IN.