In today’s challenging economy where competition is fierce in almost every market, it is important to concentrate efforts in areas that some observers may classify as “non-traditional.” One of these areas is the business of the Arts. By continuing to stay on the cutting edge of entertainment technology, and with hard work and innovation, we are striving to satisfy the wide-ranging needs of the Arts industry.
The Entertainment Innovation Conference began three years ago by bringing together major players in the Arts business. Through the efforts of Cirque du Soleil, Thomas S. Kenan Institute for the Arts, University of North Carolina School for the Arts (UNCSA), and the Technical Partners (Stage Technologies, Coolux, Vari-lite and Meyer Sound), the conference is now a resounding success. The program, particularly due to the dedication of Cirque du Soleil and UNCSA, has raised the bar for other training programs such as USITT Elite.
For the second year, CM-ET partnered with eight other organizations in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with one goal in mind; to help to build a stronger and brighter future for participants in the entertainment industry. More than 300 participants from seven states attended the conference this year, with students arriving from as far away as Arizona. Students were taught subjects ranging from Stage Management to Hoist Repair, Stage and Sound Design, Props and Rigging to proper use of all equipment from a professional and practical point of view.
“This is a big deal in higher education” said Joe Tilford, the Dean of UNCSA’s School of Design and Production. “This is like MIT partnering with some big technology group. This is a game-changer in higher education and the entertainment field.”
“Our students have an amazing level of dedication. When you have 50 freshmen who have already confirmed a major, that’s just amazing,” says Dennis Booth, Assistant Dean – Scenic Technology Faculty. “On top of that we have a graduation to employment ratio of 98.9%.”
Jonathan Robertson, a freshman at UNCSA says, “This is great! Nowhere else will you ever be exposed to the variety of talent and professionalism that we are experiencing this weekend. What I am taking away is priceless.”
No other industry is willing to share like the Arts. It is not a job, it is a passion.
Bridget Van Dyke, third year student at UNCSA says, “This is a valuable educational opportunity for students from UNCSA and around the Southeast. Hands-on workshops covering all aspects of the entertainment industry give us practical opportunities to apply classroom knowledge alongside industry professionals.
Year after year I am amazed by the energy the presenters bring! UNCSA students are known for being passionate and driven, but it’s refreshing to see how that enthusiasm is reflected in the presenters, and their eagerness to connect with the students and learn from them in return.”