Digital Media Performance Design in Theatre – Alison Dobbins


The field I’m in is almost like being in the
initial days when film was being invented, when you just tested it on an audience. Did it work? If they liked it and got the story, then yes,
it did. That’s one of the best things about being right here
in digital theatre—we’re there again. My name is Alison Dobbins, I’m an Associate
Professor of Integrated Media Performance Design. Long title for an awesome job. I came to MSU for the opportunity to combine
arts with technology. I really wanted to do the art and the creative
side of it, not just the technical side. And when this job was offered in the Theatre
Department which was combining media and theatre, I jumped at the chance. Putting film on stage is not necessarily new. But now you have a whole upsurge of filmic
stories. How do we show that on stage? How do you show multiple pieces of information,
or these short quick scenes that are somewhat filmic? Well, if you put film on stage, that’s one
way. I find that if you create a classroom that’s
interdisciplinary you create a place for those conversations to happen. I have a couple students from Music, a couple students
from Art, some students from Com Arts [The College of Communication Arts and Sciences], some students from Theatre. Then when I put them in groups, it’s about
translating from one discipline to another talking about the story from a totally different
angle, and saying “Oh, well, I didn’t even think about it like this.” A lot of our students are facing jobs that
never existed before, so when you’re talking interdisciplinary, and you’re talking that
soft skill of being able to translate things, you’re talking those core humanist and artistic
values, I think that’s one of the keys that I’ve noticed from both students who’ve worked
on shows and in my classes, what they’ve taken away. I’ve always been a collaborator. I happen to be a teacher, but I’m a collaborator
first. And just that feeling of that possibility
of collaboration is fantastic.

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