Shawn Robinson, aka “Junior”, got hooked on lighting & stagecraft when he put his hands on his first theatrical light at age 14 as a freshman in the high school drama club. Once he discovered he could study technical theatre in college, that was it – his first love and career were all rolled up in one and he has never looked back.
In school, Shawn struggled with math & science. He is eternally grateful to his aunt and uncle, both very accomplished electrical engineers, for tutoring him in math & science almost every Friday night of his high school career. Now he and those around him depend upon his math & science skills to make electrics and rigging operate safely. His own difficulty in math & science has led him to the desire to help young people make their studies more practical and exciting by helping them to understand how math, science, literature and history, coupled with technology, can be applied in the world of theatre, entertainment and special events with amazing artistic results.
For more than twenty years, Shawn has continued to learn new things about the world of technical production and the increasing amount of technology involved in making seemingly impossible events of all shapes and sizes happen time after time. He has accomplished this in the company of an amazing group of colleagues and friends and has happily taught others what he has learned along the way. The love he has for his craft, with support and encouragement of his family, friends, teachers, and colleagues, has made him a person who loves his job, loves learning, and wants to pass this love and knowledge along to future generations.
Shawn has a BFA in Technical Theatre & Design from Montclair State University and is an ETCP (Entertainment Technician Certification Program) certified Electrician and Arena Rigger. He specializes in production electrics and rigging; however, depending on the project, he also contributes to other areas of production as: a production manager, technical director, carpenter, draftsman and occasionally designer. He enjoys working on all kinds of projects, but especially likes difficult projects with a lot of moving parts work, such as the David Blaine, “Electrified!” event which had seven midi-controlled Tesla Coils shocking illusionist David Blaine with a million volts for three straight days on a custom-made truss structure, outside on Pier 54 in NYC. Shawn, much to his accountant’s benefit, works for a number of event production companies: CS Lighting, Stargroup Productions, Tinc Productions, Bernhard Link Theatrical, LDJ Productions, Production Glue, Prospect Lighting and Worldstage, just to name a few.
When Shawn is not working, he is involved in his other loves: music, grilling, being outdoors, and, ideally, finding himself in the ocean.
TAC is a culmination of things I’ve been enjoying and thinking about since I was young. At six years old I found immense joy in creating theatre. I decided then that theatre would be my work in life, so I never understood why it was marginalized in my schools – relegated to purely an after school activity until I was in High School. By 15 I was acting, directing, writing, teaching theatre and hanging lights. This world of theatre, being on ladders and teaching made sense to me, yet it was more discouraged than encouraged because it was not “practical”. As an adult, I find that this most impractical theatre training of my youth is the ground on which I practically builde an interesting fulfilling life as an adult. A life that has led me to Rwanda to use theatre to help heal the effects of the genocide; to train formerly incarcerated men to work with teens through theatre; to write a curriculum in four subjects to support Eve Ensler’s work with teenage girls and her plays, I Am An Emotional Creature: the Secret Life of Girls Around the World; and to teach hundreds of first through eighth graders mandatory theatre and design technology that reinforced their academics while developing their social and emotional growth and, of course, their theatre artistry.
What most bothers me about my own education is that every teacher, especially in high school, knew that theatre was my passion. Yet, instead of teaching me to build with my geometry, I was banned from the theatre for flunking geometry. I know now that if I had built with my geometry I would have understood it’s use and formulas in my limbs, which would have helped me to make understanding in my mind. As a teacher who has taught several subjects, it is my opinion that if a student does not understand the relevance of a subject, then the educational system has failed, not the student. Why should a student learn something if that student does not understand how what they are learning is useful? We understand the usefulness of what we learn by using our learning in ways that have meaning to us. Our educational system often does not emphasize the real application of concepts through making things that matter to us as students. TAC is an attempt to help bridge this gap. By bringing designers and technicians together with educators to create project-based lessons, TAC aims to create learning experiences that inspire students and deepen their understanding of what they are already learning in their classes by linking theory to practice. I am hoping that our program will grow and inspire others to use theatre as a tool for teaching academics and art, while developing social and emotional growth in students.
Kim has 20 years both as a theatrical professional and as a teacher. Kim holds an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts from Brooklyn College; an MA in Applied Theatre from the University of Southern California; International Baccalaureate Certifications in: Primary Years 1, Middle Year Arts 1 & 2, Middle Year Design Technology 2; Alexander Technique Teacher Certification; and a BA in Theatre, Literature and Religion from Sarah Lawrence College. She was awarded the American Shakespeare Center’s Words in Action Award for Excellence in teaching Shakespeare in 2011. While teaching, Kim has continued to work as a professional production manager, stage manager and production electrician. She has worked for Lincoln Center, Brooklyn Academy of Music, George Lewis, Meredith Monk, Danspace, The Wooster Group, Conway & Pratt Projects, Festival Productions and many, many others. In addition, she continues to work as an Alexander teacher and to freelance in production.
In her free time Kim enjoys being with her friends and family, reading, cooking, fostering kittens, making packages of joy to surprise friends and family, getting to the ocean and writing plays, letters, journal entries, poetry, lists and notes in the margins of books.