“afterWARds: Mozart’s Idomeneo Reimagined” photograph by David Bachman for Pittsburgh Opera
Enter Stage Proper
CMU alumnus heads to international stage design exhibition
By Pamela Wigley
January 14, 2022
Christian Fleming is used to designing phases. Now, he’ll need to get used to being on one.
Fleming, who earned his undergraduate diploma in directing in 2012 and grasp’s diploma in scenic design in 2020 from Carnegie Mellon College’s Faculty of Drama, was chosen by World Stage Design (WSD) to showcase his work on the upcoming 2022 exhibition and convention in Calgary, Canada, in August. The New York-based scenic and costume designer might be amongst 15 different rising scenic designers who have been hand-selected from amongst 14 taking part international locations to take part on this prestigious international occasion that takes place each 4 years.
“It’s a welcome affirmation as we return from the business going darkish,” Christian says. “I'm excited to be a part of a global occasion celebrating revolutionary theatrical design and excited to see the opposite shortlisted designers’ works.”
The Milwaukee native caught the theater bug early, and it dawned on him as his curiosity progressed all through highschool that he may make a profession out of one thing he really beloved. He was impressed by his highschool drama trainer, Claire McCain, at Homestead Excessive Faculty in Mequon, Wisconsin.
He was grateful that his household supported his need to work within the theater, too. As he neared time to organize for faculty, his analysis led him to Carnegie Mellon. After graduating and spending 5 years working within the business, Christian returned for his graduate research. This system, he mentioned, allowed him to hone his craft whereas solidifying who he's as an artist.
“I really like to inform a narrative by way of design and respect how this system at CMU is structured to push past the technical parts that make up efficiency design,” Christian says. “This system challenges college students to assume critically about the best way to use these parts to successfully inform a narrative for the viewers.”
His abilities have been put to good use throughout his time at CMU, the place he had the chance to work with Pittsburgh Opera. The expertise gave him the prospect to see what it was wish to design in knowledgeable setting and collaborate with knowledgeable group. In the end, it led to the WSD exhibition. His work in the course of the second yr of his MFA research on Pittsburgh Opera’s manufacturing of “afterWARds: Mozart’s Idomeneo Reimagined” was the challenge that led to his choice for the Calgary occasion. He gave a nod to the group he labored with on the manufacturing“afterWARds,” particularly the manufacturing’s technical director Sean West who served because the manufacturing’s technical director.
“With out him, I don’t know that the manufacturing would have been doable. It was an bold thought, and Sean was very important to determining the best way to carry it to life,” Christian says.
He additionally credit his CMU drama professors, highlighting Narelle Sissons, Dick Block and Anne Mundell, who he mentioned impressed him as educators and mentors.
“At CMU, I discovered pleasure within the course of,” Christian says. “For college students who're there now, I counsel you to take in as a lot as doable — there's a lot thrilling work taking place globally. Creatively feed your self and uncover revolutionary work taking place right here and overseas. All the things you see impacts and informs your inventive improvement.”
He additionally drew inspiration from fellow Faculty of Drama alum Leigh Silverman, who now works in New York as a director. She provided three factors to Christian and his classmates, and he refers to them nonetheless.
“She mentioned that your profession relies on expertise, the luck of being in the appropriate place on the proper time, and the power to remain within the recreation and be related,” he says. “That final half is the toughest and most necessary. Keep your connections, construct your community and keep high of thoughts.”
His personal recommendation to college students additionally focuses on constructing a popularity and transferring ahead.
“Get your title on the market,” he says. “You need to ensure folks know you and know your work. Use your alumni community. One challenge will result in one other and so forth.”
Christian’s work was additionally acknowledged this yr with the 2021 United States Institute for Theatre Know-how Scene Design Award sponsored by Rose Model. Now, he relishes the distinction of being showcased at this yr’s WSD exhibition and appears ahead to new alternatives and elevated visibility as he continues to push the breadth of artistry.
In Calgary, Christian could have the chance to broaden his community and be impressed by the revolutionary work showcased. The exhibition will characteristic rising designers like Christian, in addition to established designers from around the globe. Lectures and grasp courses are open to all attendees, and Fleming appears ahead to studying extra from the palette provided.
“It’s like going to an artwork museum, and really thrilling to have your work exhibited,” he says. “I’m wanting ahead to seeing all these great examples of my friends’ work, and studying from them. I’m tremendously grateful to be chosen.”
To contact Fleming or study extra about his work, go to christianfleming.design.