Audra Avery, Bachelor Of Fine Arts,
When the lights dimmed in the Harriet Jorgensen Theatre and the stage glowed with A Midsummer Night's Dream, Audra Avery knew all her hard work was worth it.
"Seeing my work become real on stage was amazing," says Avery, a scenic design/technical theater major who designed the sets for Shakespeare's comic classic performed this spring by the Connecticut Repertory Theatre. Her work was done in conjunction with her honors thesis.
She spent about six months on the project - drawing, researching the history of early 19th-century Vienna, and drafting the set designs. "You have sketches on paper and you can see it in your mind, but when you see it on stage, it's mind-blowing," Avery says. "Even when you go into the shop and people are building the sets, you're still kind of detached."
Undergraduates don't usually have the opportunity to design main stage productions, says Avery. "I was really lucky and felt honored for the privilege."
Avery says she was drawn to UConn "because it is a huge research university. It's a big campus with a lot going on. Plus, the dramatic arts department and the fine arts program are phenomenal," she says.
"There are so many research and scholarship opportunities here," says Avery, who took graduate classes through the Honors Program. "Those classes really taught me what I needed to know about being a professional."
She says her advisors and professors have challenged her. "My first class with Professor Tim Saternow made me a designer," she says. "I walked into his introductory design class my freshmen year, and I knew that's what I wanted to do. It was one of those life-changing moments."
Scenic design incorporates math and science as well as art, Avery says: "You have to know a little bit of physics and a little bit of math to figure out the mechanics of the scenery you're designing."
Avery was a student liaison on the dean's advisory board for the School of Fine Arts; was on the President's committee for the public arts; and was involved with the Husky Ambassador program for three years. The program provides information from a student perspective to prospective students, and includes hosting high school seniors for a day on campus.
Avery has applied for several internships, and may pursue her interest in designing for motion pictures.