USITT Forum@Four: Uplifting the Artist

Freelance designers and individual artists have unique proximity to the heartbeat of the theatre field. They work at numerous venues each season, in many cases over multiple years and multiple visits, thus experiencing a variety of institutional cultures first hand. However, unlike Actors Equity, there are no industry-wide standards for engaging freelance artists. How can institutions incorporate the learning and experience of the freelance artists they hire more deeply into their organization’s fabric, acknowledging the invaluable nature of their vantage point? Especially during this time when the entire field is on a forced pause.

In this session, we explore how guest artists are welcomed and valued by the institutions that invite them through their doors. We will discuss implementing industry-wide standards, creating sustainable feedback loops, recommended best practices sourced from the community at large, and how we can move forward as a community.



Go Live Information
Go Live Date:
April 28, 2020
Speaker Information

Porsche McGovern

Porsche McGovern is a lighting designer. She designed Skeleton Crew and We Are Proud to Present... (Playmakers Repertory Company), A Single Shard (People's Light and Theatre Company), The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Oregon Shakespeare Festival). In New York, she designed Mothers (Playwrights Realm), Bureau of Missing Persons (Neighborhood Productions), Ghetto Babylon (Dramatic Question Theatre), many shows with Spookfish Theatre Company, among others. She has an MFA from California Institute for the Arts and a BA from St. Lawrence University. She is also a researcher, concentrating on designers in regional theatres.

Deb Sivigny

As a costume and scenic designer, Deb Sivigny has worked on over thirty world premieres with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Theater J, Kennedy Center Theater for Young Audiences, Imagination Stage, The Source Festival, Young Playwrights Theatre, The Hub, Studio Theatre 2nd Stage, and Rorschach Theatre where she has been a company member since 2006. She has also designed for Round House Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Everyman Theatre, Signature Theatre, Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Rep Stage, Adventure Theatre, Shakespeare Theater’s Academy for Classical Acting, 1stStage, Keegan Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Opera Vivente, WSC Avant Bard, Flying V, DC and Seattle Fringe Festivals, Peridance, Dance Elixir and Tia Nina, among others. She is a member of the second generation of The Welders, where she served as Lead Producing Playwright for her work Hello, My Name Is… Set in a house, she designed and created environments that channeled the lives of Korean adoptees.

David Bengali

David Bengali is a projection and lighting designer based in New York. He has designed theater, opera, and dance Off-Broadway, Regionally, and internationally, and has worked as an associate designer on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Regionally. Recent design credits include: The Great Leap (Atlantic Theater Company); Van Gogh’s Ear (Ensemble for the Romantic Century - Drama Desk Nomination); Frankenstein (Dallas Theater Center); Rockin' Road To Dublin (National Tour); Assembled Identity (HERE); Uncommon Sense (Tectonic Theater Project); The Temple Bombing (Alliance Theatre); Conference of the Birds (Boston Center for the Arts); SPILL (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Anna Akhmatova (ERC/BAM), Jules Verne From The Earth To The Moon (ERC/BAM); Ring of Fire (Endstation Theatre); The Tempest (Classic Stage Company/The Young Company); Kill Me Like You Mean It (Stolen Chair); Two Point Oh (59E59); I Forgive You Ronald Reagan, The Sensational Josephine Baker (Theatre Row); The Orion Experience (XL).


Kate Freer, Multimedia Designer.



David Stewart, Production Manager.

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USITT Forum@Four: Uplifting the Artist
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