My Journey in Lighting
written by guest blogger Frank Danko
[ED: Mr. Danko’s journey began at an early age and in an earlier blog post. Here the journey continues.]
Theatre is everywhere.
My passion for technical theatre continued through college where I studied theatre arts and worked freelance around New York. I ran lights and sound for weddings, mitzvahs, concerts, dance events, corporate events and theatrical productions. It was at this point I learned that I didn’t need to be in a theatre to be a technician. Events took place everywhere from parks, hotels, churches and right on the streets. One day I would be sitting behind the console in a hotel and the next day I would be setting up staging on the streets of NYC. Theatre was everywhere and I learned as many lessons on the job as I had sitting in the classroom.
A career begins.
I decided to pursue my passion for technical theatre because it seemed like a natural transition. I worked in a local theatre for several years, which lead to a position with our local IATSE production rental company who was providing gear for Broadway and Off-Broadway. After joining the organization, I came to find out that we were also providing lighting and audio at local schools. I was immediately interested in this side of the business because of how meaningful my educators were to my journey. I began meeting with teachers, directors and facilities managers to see how I could assist in their production needs. We developed a program where IATSE Technicians would go into schools to do workshops with students on lighting and audio. This program allowed me to help solidify the future of our industry by paving the way for students interested in pursuing a career in technical theatre.
The education continues.
I am proud and fortunate to teach workshops in the New York area as often as possible and I sit on the board of the NYS Theatre Education Association. I represented CHAUVET Professional and showed the Ovation series at The Hemsley Lighting Programs 9th Annual Lighting Portfolio Review this past March at Lincoln Center. This program honors Gilbert Hemsley, a highly regarded designer who dedicated his life to mentoring and educating young talent in the lighting industry. The Hemsley Lighting Program offers master classes and portfolio reviews by the industry’s leading designers in an effort to foster and educate the future of our industry. I have been fortunate enough to attended USITT numerous times, Broadway Lighting Master Class and was pleased to join the CHAUVET Professional’s team at the 8th Annual Stage Lighting Super Saturday at LaGuardia School of the Performing Arts this past January.
Art transforms people’s lives!
Theatre is a collaborative art that cannot exist or grow without dedication from those who will follow in our footsteps. At the USITT Stage Expo, CHAUVET Professional helped to inspire young technicians who walked the floor as I once did. With this in mind, I encourage you to get involved with USITT, EdTA and your local organizations promoting theatre education. Join me in helping us to educate a brighter future. You might just learn something in the process.
Inspired to learn more? Please feel free to contact me at [email protected].