USITT - [email protected] - Lessons from Hurricane Harvey: The Alley Theatre’s Prop Salvage & Recovery Saga

Webinar description: In late August 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped 50+ inches of rain in the Houston metro area. This led to exhaustive flooding all over the city, including inundating the Alley Theatre’s Neuhaus Stage and Props storage areas with more than 19 feet of water. This session will review the damage caused to the Alley Theatre properties inventory and the subsequent salvage and recovery operations. Karin Rabe Vance, Alley Theatre Prop Master, will take us through the efforts they undertook to salvage any recoverable props while also taking a full inventory of the unrecoverable items. She’ll include some best practices and tips for determining priority items, cleaning processes and products, and how to determine insurance values for treasured props both shop built and purchased.

Presenter: Karin Rabe Vance has been the Properties Master at Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas as since 2004 where she has managed the production of props for over 130 productions, including Three Musketeers, Sherlock and the Suicide Club, Harvey, November, Red, Toxic Avenger, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Cyrano de Bergerac, 39 Steps, Arsenic and Old Lace, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Treasure Island, Subject to Fits, and The Pillowman. While at the Alley she also managed the recovery of properties following the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey. Prior to working at the Alley, she served as the Properties Master for Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo New York, Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell Massachusetts, and as the Properties Shop Assistant at the Santa Fe Opera. She is an active member of both S*P*A*M (The Society of Properties Artisan Managers), USITT (United States Institute of Theatre Technology), and TX-CERA (Texas Collections Emergency Response Alliance). She has a BFA in Theatre Design and Tech.

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