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UMD Design Duo

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SFA students get noticed for Medea's costume and set design


University of Minnesota Duluth Erin and Jenna  
UMD Juniors Erin Ohland and Jenna Houck.

Two University of Minnesota Duluth students from the School of Fine Arts had their work chosen for the Cover the Walls Exhibition of scenery, lighting, and costume design presented by the United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT). Juniors Erin Ohland and Jenna Houck showed their designs for last year’s UMD performance of Medea. Ohland is working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts in scenic design – she designed the set, and Houck is working on a BFA in scenic design and costume design – she designed costumes.

For these BFA students, theater is a lot of work and dedication. "Once you choose theater, you’re in it for life,” said Ohland.

To continue to be a part of the BFA program, students must requalify for their majors. “We have to do it every year. It’s basically like trying out to be in the School of Fine Arts.

They both worked on the show It’s a Wonderful Life. Houck has designed the set for White Baby, and she also contstructed Cinderella’s dress for Roger’s and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. Ohland has done scenic design for the shows Black Patent Leather Shoes and The Odyssey.

Ohland started UMD as a teaching major, but switched right away to theater. “I like recreating little worlds,” says Ohland. She's been doing scenic design since she was a child. This summer she will be working as an intern at a Broadway theater camp in New York. She says she’ll probably move to Chicago to work in scenic design for the theater after she graduates UMD.

Unlike Ohland, Houck didn’t start her theater career until she came to UMD. “I was homeschooled, so I didn’t have an opportunity to do theater in high school. I liked watching it, and it caught my interest,” she said. When she graduates, Houck enjoyed her internship in a scene shop so much, she hopes someday to work in one. Houck also plans to go to graduate school for design.

Both students are excited about getting their designs noticed and having the opportunity to go to the Annual Conference. They realize putting together a show takes more than just two people. “The production team deserves thanks. They are good people. Winning the Cover the Walls for the Medea designs wouldn’t have been possible without them,” said Houck.

Earlier this fall, UMD hosted the conference for the USITT Midwest region’s chapter. The biannual Cover the Walls Exhibition took place at that event. Chapter members presented their work in the exhibition of scenery, lighting, and costume design. The winners of the top three best designs, including Ohland and Houck, will receive a registration-paid trip to the USITT Annual Conference and Stage Expo. This year, the event will be held in Milwaukee, Wis. from March 20-23. Performing arts and entertainment professionals attend, along with more than 200 companies from all over the world who present the latest innovations in theatre technology and design.

medea university of minnesota duluth  
medea university of minnesota duluth  
Medea's set design.
medea university of minnesota duluth  



UMD Those Who Can, Duluth

by Jessica Noor, February 2013

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