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PCC’s theater students honored by Kennedy Center

Story by Dana Haynes and James Hill. Photos by Dana Haynes.

Portland Community College theater arts students Clare Parker and Jamie Tait represented the college this month at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

“Costume design is strange,” said Clare Parker, who along with Jamie Tait, represented the college this month at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. “It’s 3-D art. I love being creative and making people look pretty.”

And a third theater student, Victor Ciccone of Northeast Portland, won a Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas honor through the Kennedy Center for his innovative theater design work.

Parker and Tait qualified at a regional theater competition to make it to the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, which happened last week in the nation’s capitol. At the regional competition in California, Parker won for her costume design for the play “Woyzeck,” which was staged at the Sylvania Campus Performing Arts Center last fall. Tait won for his stage design for “Woyzeck.”

They competed against students from four-year universities as well as graduate students in stage design. Parker came to PCC directly from high school in Santa Cruz, Calif. She has been designing costumes since her sophomore year there.

“Costume design is strange,” Parker said. “It’s 3-D art. I love being creative and making people look pretty.”

Tait took a roundabout approach to PCC, beginning in New Orleans then obtaining a bachelor’s degree at the Kansas City Art Institute, before moving to Japan then Portland.

“I wasn’t there when they announced the winners,” Tait said. “When they told me, I thought they were joking. It blew me away.”

Jamie Tait took a roundabout approach to PCC, beginning in New Orleans then obtaining a bachelor’s degree at the Kansas City Art Institute, before moving to Japan then Portland.

The Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas Awards For Excellence in Technology and Design honored Ciccone, who was one of nine students nationwide to win. Ciccone won for developing a series of electronic props for “Woyzeck,” such as a shock devise, handheld lantern and a crystal ball on a pillow where the actor could modify the light intensity. He plans to transfer to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas to pursue a theater arts degree.

“I feel super honored,” Ciccone said. “I really wanted that. It’s cool to have an outside party recognize my work. Yes, I get a grade and my professor sees me all the time and sees my work, but it’s affirming for an outside entity to confirm what I do.”

The institute partnered with the Kennedy Center to award students from each region a one-week master class in the area of their choice in Las Vegas during the summer. Classes include Computer Drafting, Computer Modeling, Rigging, Automation, Props & SFX, Sound, Makeup & Masks, Lighting Technology, Patterning, Projections & Video, and Moving Lights. Students were selected by a team of theater technologists and designers for outstanding achievement demonstrated at each Regional Festival in their area of theater technology, crafts or design.

Ciccone said he would take the moving lights workshop in late summer.

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