The Cal Poly Theater and Dance department has received new technology and machinery to improve their productions, which includes an embroidery machine, a 3D printer and a CNC machine.
The technical director for the Theater and Dance Department, Clint Bryson, is hoping these machines will introduce students to technology they will see in the real world, improve the quality of their productions, and cut down on the time it takes to prepare for their shows.
“It’s exciting, it’s fun, it’s new technology, so it’s not necessarily the same old flat and platform sets that we typically build or have historically built,” Byrson said. “It also allows us to kind of show how technology can be used in much more traditional arts. And so where stagecraft and set building tends to be a lot of very simple wood flat platforms, painted drops. This allows us to incorporate technology from both a process of building, but also then in the final product.”
Performing arts in high schools and universities is often underfunded.
“Because theater arts, especially the performing arts, isn’t necessarily until you get into, say, rock concerts or Broadway shows, doesn’t necessarily garner a lot of revenue,” Bryson said. “And so it’s difficult to justify sometimes the amount of cost that goes into producing a show with the amount of return that you might get.”
The funding of these new machines comes from an allotment of lottery equipment funds given to the College of Liberal Arts dean’s office.
Part of the money used to purchase lottery tickets is given to the educational system to purchase equipment across the nation.
The Costume Shop manager for the Theater and Dance Department, Laina Babb, is excited to see what she can do with the new embroidery machine.
“It hasn’t changed what we do on the day to day, but it’s definitely an exciting thing to give our students something that they’re going to run into in the real world nowadays that maybe we weren’t teaching before,” Babb said.
Teachers believe this new technology will change the way they teach classes such as Stagecraft and Costume Construction.
It might also improve students’ abilities to learn.
“It forces you to think about the process in a different way from conception through realization,” says Bryson. “And so it’s an evolutionary step, both for Cal Poly as a program, but the students themselves to see how this technology can be implemented.”
Students can attend the show Company from March 2 to March 11 to see some of these machines in action.