Lynne M. Koscielniak



1.     Introduction


I engage in service at all levels: national, departmental, community and university. I serve as the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region II Chair of Design and Technology and as the Director of Design and Technology in the Department of Theatre and Dance. In Western New York I share my design expertise with community groups and at the University at Buffalo I have shaped outreach programs in the theatre arts. I have been influenced by design luminaries in my field who have inspired young designers through extraordinary experiences, responding to student work and lecturing on theory and practice in public forums, imparting the state of the American theatre and theatre education to the next generation of theatre artists.  The personal experiences I have had with these artists, have inspired me to give back to the profession in the same way.


2.     National


I serve as the Region II Chair of Design and Technology for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.  Region II includes Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.  In my capacity as Chair of Design and Technology, I have created programming for faculty and students alike, providing access to opportunities beyond those available at their home institutions.  I have increased the programming at the festival to include all major areas and subdivisions of Design, Technology and Management.  I have organized the Design Exhibit—where students are encouraged to present realized production work and conceptual designs in progress–to allow twice as many entries as in prior years.  I have elevated the Design Exhibit by designing the displays and curating the entries myself, which in turn has promoted greater student involvement.  To further elevate the stature of the event, I have worked to secure expert respondents so that the students can benefit from the advice of the most accomplished theatre artists and educators.  Under my watch, the Design/Tech/Management (DTM) area programming has boomed.  In 2007, fifty-two DTM sessions took place over the four-day festival. In the KCACTF’s eight regions, 102 DTM sessions where offered at the regional festivals last year; Region II contributing to over half that number.  In recognition of the growth in the depth and sophistication of our DTM programming, KCACTF honored me with an award for Excellence in Programmatic Development this year. I look forward to organizing the 2008 Festival, to be held at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and in continuing to develop my area’s offerings.


3.     Department


As the Director of Design and Technology in the Department of Theatre & Dance, I have worked to refine the curriculum and structure for the BFA in Production (Design and Technology) program. Under my leadership over the past three years, enrollment has quadrupled.  I am committed to offering the students an education that balances theory and practice.  I identify deficiencies in our course offerings and work to resolve these within the limitations of our resources.  As we do not have a props master or scenic artist on staff, I step in and fill these roles so that the students do not lack training in these areas and our department productions do not suffer. 


As Director of Design and Technology, I am committed to the program being state of the art.  To this end, I applied for and received an Educational Technology Grant that has allowed us to work in virtual, three-dimensional models for the stage.  I continue to work on funding requests and grants to outfit our labs with automated lighting equipment and control.  I have been working with the Department Chair, Robert Knopf, to update the lighting systems in the Katherine Cornell Theatre, a space that is used for student theatre and soon, as a result of our work, will be a safe laboratory for performance and design/tech students alike.


4.     Community


I openly share my design expertise with the community, whether it is by advising secondary education faculty on the scenery for their school plays or speaking to groups of elementary school students about what design is.  I am particularly proud that I could use my set design skills to design and fabricate a memorial installation for the Firemen who lost their lives on 9/11.  Almost a year after the tragedy, the Erie County Volunteer Firemen’s Association wished to pay tribute to the men who lost their lives on that day.  I created an installation of 343 American flags, each adorned with the name and picture of a fallen brother.  The flags were carried by 343 Western New York Volunteer Firemen who stood in the formation of “FDNY.” The ceremony took place at the Erie County Fair Grounds in Hamburg, NY with brothers from the FDNY in attendance.  I called upon my stage management background to act as floor manager for the event, organizing the parade of tribute participants.  The flag installation now has a permanent home in the Firemen's Memorial Exhibit Center of WNY Inc.


5.     University


At the University at Buffalo, the Department of Theatre and Dance is housed within the Center for the Arts (CFA), a professional producing facility. The CFA is a tremendous resource for our students, and I greatly respect the Center staff and support their efforts in any way I can.  I have served on three search committees for the CFA, offering my perspective on how the new hire will relate to the educational programs that surround them.  I also have offered curriculum and my teaching services to their summer programs, which are open to the community.  The summer programs at the CFA, “Explore the Arts” and “Technical Theatre Workshops,” strengthen the production values of theatre happening in Western New York.  Attendees range from students who work on their middle school stage crews to staff members from Shea’s Performing Arts Center.  It is great to open these minds to the role of design in production and offer them theatrical practices they can bring to their respective institutions.


6.     Future Plans


I believe service is integral to teaching.  My service links the University at Buffalo to the theatre profession through my involvement with national organizations.  Through my outreach efforts in the community and my work bringing the community to the University at Buffalo, I hope to develop the community’s personal awareness and sophistication about theatre design.  I work to better the profession itself by offering continuing education programs. After serving my term as the Chair of Design and Technology for Region II KCACTF, I plan on running for national office where I will have the ability to further KCACTF programming for all eight regions.  In addition to this, I plan to continue my affiliation with the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, moving from active member to leader.  To begin to achieve this, I am leading a team of University at Buffalo students in the 2008 USITT Architectural Awards Program where we will be investigating and proposing an ideal theatrical venue for the academy.