American Prom is heading into its opening week after wrapping up a successful tech weekend. The performers have, on average, three weeks to comb through the script and develop their characters' emotional and physical intent. Before the first day begins, however, the designers of the show will have spent months planning and prepping for their big day- "Tech Rehearsals." We hire incredibly talented individuals from all over the country and are thrilled to welcome back Lighting Designer Mike Wood.
Mike holds a Bachelor of Arts in theatre design from the University of South Florida and is currently the Director of Technical Theatre at Collegiate School, an all boys school in New York. He has carved an extensive career from starting a lightning design company in Tampa Bay, FL to becoming a nationally recognized artist based out of New York. You have had the pleasure of enjoying his work, if you saw our productions of Constellations (2016) or his Henry nominated work in Heisenberg (2017).
Mike: Tampa Bay Area, Florida
TW: Home now?
Mike: New York City, New York
TW: Where did you go to school and what did you study?
Mike: University of South Florida, Theatre Design
TW: What childhood events fostered your the passions you pursue today?
Mike: My parents used to take me to see shows at the local performing arts center and I was always enamored with the lighting. Additionally, I used to run sound for my school choir and that made me fall in love with the technical and "behind the scenes" aspect of performance based art.
TW: If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be and why?
Mike: Part of the excitement of my job is travelling to many different places and spending time with many different types of people, so I don't like the idea of staying in one place, even for just a year.
TW: You’ve worked in our former space on Constelations and Heisenberg. What challenges/ excites you about our new Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theatre?
Mike: I always love to work in new spaces because it allows me to see what the space is capable of doing. I also love working in larger spaces which have more tools available to me. I like that this space is larger and more well equipped than the old one, and I look forward to seeing what surprises it has in store for me.
TW: On your website you say that you believe and have seen that theatre changes lives. Can you share what you’ve seen?
Mike: I have worked extensively in education throughout my professional career, and I have seen students of all ages, from children to adults, fall in love with all different aspects of theatre. They find their passion, make friends, or discover a hidden talent. The connections made through storytelling are nothing short of life changing.
TW: You’ve spent your career working in and teaching about theatrical design. What does an education in theatre provide in a person’s life?
Mike: A greater connection to other people and cultures and a greater capacity for compassion and empathy.
TW: Finally, If you could choose any person from history to be your imaginary friend, who would it be and why?
Mike: Salem Saberhagen.