Today we’re talking to Sean Savoie, currently the resident Lighting Designer/Production Manager/Design Coordinator at Washington University. He received his BFA from the University of Southern Mississippi and his MFA from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music (CCM) in Lighting Design and Technology. Selected regional design credits include STAGES 2015 production of ANYTHING GOES, The Black Rep, Winter Opera St. Louis, Union Ave Opera, HotCity Theatre, Upstream Theatre, Wayside Theatre, Shenandoah University, Theatre West Virginia, Tsunami Theatre Company in Washington, D.C., New York Chinese Cultural Center, Portland Opera (Associate & Assistant Designer), Know Theatre, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and Cincinnati Opera (Assistant Designer). Sean is the very proud recipient of the prestigious United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Rising Star Award (2009) and the Distinguished Alumni Award from CCM (2010).
Q: What was your first experience in theatre?
A: I distinctly remember doing a show in 4th grade called Merry Moppets for Christmas. I remember playing the husband (I think that was my character name also). I just found out last week that my best friend since kindergarten “ran” the lights.
Q: What is the best piece of career advice anyone has ever given you?
A: My answer to the next question could go here as well. That experience told me to
save your work, no matter what you’re doing, and when things get tough, you have to figure it out. Theatre is a collaborative art, but you have to pull your own weight and be the professional you need to be. Other words I try to live by: “If you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re already late’ and my favorite advice from my father: “You can do whatever you want, just be sure to do it to the best of your ability.”
Q: Tell us about a backstage or onstage mishap you lived through.
A: My senior year of undergrad I was designing the main stage production of Midsummer Nights Dream. At the same time, there was to be a dedication ceremony of the new multi-million dollar theatre building. The woman whose name was on the building was going to be recognized and I was asked to design this moving light show. Well, the morning of the
dedication, the guy running sound was late, so while I was scrambling to set up the mics, I did not pay attention when I thought I was loading the light show from a disc, when in fact I was recording over the only copy I had with the Midsummer show. A weeks work went away in 15 seconds. I walked down the hallway aimlessly and of course ran into my lighting professor. I told him what happened, he looked away, looked back at me and said “well, you learn things the hard way,” turned and kept walking.
Q: What is your dream role?
A: Doing it right now…I teach at Washington Univ. with fantastic colleagues and students,
I freelance around town, have a wonderful wife, and amazing friends……yeah, this is a dream role.
Q: What is your current guilty TV Pleasure?
A: I’m definitely on the Game of Thrones train, The Good Wife, and Archer!
Grace Austin an STL area director and educator. See her work at gracemaustin.com. She is also extremely jealous that Sean saw Hamilton.
**DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of THE SCENE SHOP.