Some thoughts from someone who attended - though it was many, many years ago, and I will admit that it's likely things have changed, though from the posts here, I'm not so sure.
>Okay, I have to clear
up some of what has been said here. SUNY Purchase
is one of the top 5 lighting schools in the country.
This is an opinion from someone who obviously is very excited about getting accepted, as you should be.
It's not one of the top 5, but maybe among the top 25. There are many. many schools out there that put out designers that are as well trained as those that come out of Purchase
. In my 23 year career as an LD at a very busy road house
, I encounter very few Purchase
Grad's ( I tend to get nosy and ask), with my 2 shows with Brian MacDevitt counted among them. That's not to say they aren't out there, but to say that there are a LOT of very good people in the industry, many of whom came from no-name schools, but who were very good to begin with.
tends to attract good people - the interview process see's to that. So does NC School of the Arts, Carnegie-Mellon, Univ. of Deleware, and countless others. Good people with a love for the business tend to get better at what they do and the college they went to often only gives them the very basics to get started. Purchase
is no different in this respect.
>For a reason. They turn out incredable designers. Not technicians. That is their philosophy. They aren’t training deck
hands and spot ops. They are training the next generation of Broadway designers.
Exactly and in my opinion that focus is a problem and one of the reasons I left. That focus should also be a warning to others contemplating.
Yes, you get trained by Broadway designers to design on Broadway and you are close to Broadway.
But is that what you want to do ?, and more realistically, is there work for you ?.
Simply put, there wasn't back in my days, nor is there now, enough work on Broadway to warrent a focus on "Broadway Design". It was a constant topic of discussion among us freshman and I imagine it still is. So many of the folks I came to know at Purchase
who left before graduating, which in those days was MOST of the students, all seemed to find careers outside of Broadway. In my class (the year which I will not mention), Brian Nason, to my knowledge, is the only one who made a name for himself on Broadway.
There were 55 freshman in my class. About 30 or so sophmores, 15 or so juniors (MacDevitt being one of them) and one senior - Andrea Sacks (possibly Sachs), who left halfway thru
the year, but went on to become one of the first female Gaffers in NABET and made a name for herself.
I would be concerned for the student that does NOT want to design on Broadway, but instead is interested in TV, or Film, or (Gasp) R&R. From what I've read here, you are not going to like the Broadway career track
. I didn't.
>They have four Theater spaces.
Once known as "A", "B", "C" and "D", though theater A is now the Concert Hall
, Theater B - with the Japanese Hanamichi
side walls, known now as the PepsiCo space (Pepsi world headquarters is across the street and for many years they sponsered the Pepsico festival), Theater C is the Recital Hall
>A HUGE black box.
Theater D, now the Kaplan.
>The last of the four that I visited was the PepsiCo Theater. It is a huge 1800 seat theater that is usually to big for the school to use because it is too large to light and set. However, it is used every once and a while.
I think you mean the Concert Hall
, with 1400 seats. The Prosc. opening is 54 ft., big enough to take one set from the Met Opera (but just one !). Has a huge pipe organ as well, 19 ton's or so, moves on air casters and has it's own storage room SR.
FWIW, the website describes it fairly well - http://www.artscenter.org/toppage1.html
No doubt about it, though, it's a terrific facility, which I'm curious if the State of NY has maintained. I do know they went dimmer-per-circuit a few years back. Cost 3 million, mostly to bring in more power
from 3 miles away.
Still, having spent the bulk of my career in a city/state operated school, I can attest to the sad lack of funding over the last 2 decades, mirroring Smatticus's impression of run down, though correcting the comment that the facility IS owned by the school, but managed by a not-for-profit arts org. (if memory serves).
To finish, I wish NY Gaff
the best and hope he/she lasts the 4 years, though you can be proud if you don't as you will be joining a huge list of
industry professionals who can proudly say "I ATTENDED Purchase
" (grin), but have to ask that with a log-on name of NY Gaff
, I assume you work in the NY film business ? and if so, why switch
If it's some sort of college training you want, look into CUNY's NY City College of Technology, which has a terrific theater design and technology program, and where a lot of IATSE
Local 1 members attend.