By Marc Speir
University News Service
Aug. 1, 2007
SAN MARCOS- Sheila Hargett, head of the costume design and technology program at Texas State University-San Marcos, was recently honored by her invitation and attendance at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial Design Exhibit (PQ).
Billed as the “Olympics for theatrical design,” the PQ is the largest and most in-depth international exhibit of its kind. The conference encompasses all aspects of artistic theatre including scenery, lighting and costumes. Almost 23,000 visitors passed through the doors of the presentation in the capitol of the Czech Republic from June 14-24, including 5,000 of the world’s top theatre professionals from more than 60 nations.
A team of industry experts decided on which works to showcase and extended invitations to approximately 100 total designers from the United States.
“It really was very exciting to be chosen and to be in Prague,” Hargett said. “The exhibit was in a municipal palace and all over the city there were huge posters and live theatre everywhere.”
Hargett was selected because of her work on the Department of Theatre and Dance’s spring 2006 production of The Next Amendment. The children’s play includes a vast array of characters and complex costumes. The gallery environment of the PQ allowed Hargett space to set up a digital booth and slideshow of photos from the play, drawings and articles of clothing.
“It’s a great place to bounce ideas off each other,” Hargett said. “I liked seeing how others would approach designing a production.”
Other activities at the presentation included lectures, book signings, fashion shows, student design, live theatre and debates on costumes, drawing, painting, architecture, space and other interdisciplinary work.
“The theme was interactive art this year,” Hargett said. “It’s how costumes, design, scenery and dance all tie together.”
Hargett says that current trends in theatre will affect the course of costume design and technology.
“Right now there is a trend towards minimalism and bare costumes,” Hargett said. “There are various ways to do it as long as you remember to let the words of the play be the focus.”
Hargett’s exhibit shown at the PQ will also be seen at the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology next spring in Houston.