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Unique content highlighting designers and creative teams

Industry or Community: What Are We Going Back To?

By Masha Tsimring

View full article on Howlround:

Prior to the pandemic, designers, like many theatremakers, existed in a fiscally precarious environment. There seemed to be an unspoken assumption among artistic leadership that we had other sources of income. There must have been, because if theatre institutions actually calculated how much designers are paid, and then how many projects designers would need to take on in a year to survive without outside funding, then the current pay scale would appear to be unconscionable.  

However it’s very likely that institutions aren’t making these calculations at all. There is a certain willful ignorance, or blinkering, when it comes to contracted artists versus institutional staff. If a company is only responsible for a small portion of a person’s yearly income and schedule, they perhaps don’t need to extrapolate what a year, or a lifetime, of those same conditions might mean, what impact the pay and hours have on a designer’s health, relationships, financial stability, and creative resilience. 

I decided to poke my nose in some colleagues’ business. I communicated with designers in different disciplines, most of whom reside in New York City and work for nonprofit companies. These are folks who work regularly in their field but don’t have a solid monetary cushion from a commercial success. These conversations unspooled ideas about making—both art and money—potential changes in relations between designers and institutions, and, of course, how much we all miss obsessing over ephemeral moments together, in the dark. 

HOLD Convos - Howards End



HOLD spoke to some of the creative team of the paused production of Howard's End, which was scheduled to premier at Portland Center Stage April 19, 2020 to discuss the process before the pause. Team: Kimie Nishikawa (Set Designer), Sarita Fellows (Costume Designer), Masha Tsimring (Lighting Designer), Elisheba Ittoop (Composer), Ben Scheff (Sound Designer), Marissa Wolf (Director) Conversation moderated by: Deb Sivigny and Katherine Freer

Image Credit: Model by Kimie Nishikawa

HOLD: Meet 'N Greet


Celebrating the launch of HOLD: Design for Empty Rooms A virtual meet n' greet with some of the contributing designers followed by a discussion with the creative team from the paused production of Howard's End, originally to premier at Portland Center Stage April 24, 2020.


Contributing Designers: Angelica Borrero, Andy Jean, Zach Blane, Michael Costagliola, Kimie Nishikawa, Sarita Fellows, Masha Tsimring, Oona Curley, Elizabeth Atkinson, Oana Botez, Yana Biryukova, Collette Pollard, Lex Liang, Stacey Derosier, Jane Shaw, Alexander Nichols, Apollo Weaver, Natalia de la Torre, Abby Schlackman, Ariel Wang, David Reynoso, Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams, Nicole Wee, Katherine Freer, Elisheba Ittoop, Alex Koch, Arnulfo Maldonado, Deb Sivigny, Edward Morris, Jane Shaw, Melissa Ng, Thom Weaver, and Tara Webb.

Creative Team Roundtable "The Siblings Play" on NoMarking



Creative Team Roundtable "The Siblings Play" with Zach Blane, Ren Dara Santiago, Jenna Worsham, Angelica Borrero, Andy Jean, + Michael Costagliola Zach Blane hosts a roundtable discussion with the creators of "The Siblings Play", which was to debut off-broadway at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, but was shutdown in previews, before the official opening, due to COVID-19. Join Playwright (Ren Dara Santiago), Director (Jenna Worsham), and design team (Angelica Borrero, Andy Jean, Zach Blane, Michael Costagliola) for an in-depth conversation about the creation of this special piece and how the pandemic has affected all involved.

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