Oberlin Students Shine in Theater Design Competition

Proposed renovations to Hall Auditorium top submissions from graduate school programs.

March 29, 2023

Office of Communications

Students cheerfully accept a theater award.
Oberlin students Andrew McCracken (far left) and Nelson Gutsch (second from left) pose with USITT's Lee Asbell-Swanger and their mentor, Howard Glickman ’92 (far right).
Photo credit: courtesy Oberlin Theater Department

Oberlin theater students excelled in the biennial Venue Renovation Challenge, an event co-sponsored by the American Society for Theatre Consultants and the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. The competition took place at USITT’s March conference in St. Louis.

Students work in teams with an ASTC professional theater consultant to propose and document a theoretical renovation to a venue or space on or near their campus. The Oberlin team’s presentation focused on proposed renovations to Oberlin’s Hall Auditorium, the longtime home of mainstage opera and theater productions on campus. They were mentored over the past year by Howard Glickman ’92, an associate principal at the renowned theater-consulting firm Auerbach Pollock Friedlander.

The Oberlin team earned a second-place finish, topping teams from Yale and Ohio State, and also won the Director’s Award, a prize established by USITT to acknowledge the best undergraduate team in the competition. The team consisted of Nelson Gutsch ’25, Ansel Mills ’25, Leanne O’Donnell ’25, Andrew McCraken ’26, Charley Davis ’26, and Nova Gomez ’25.

“I’m very proud of these students,” Glickman said. “In a short period of time, they were able to grasp concepts that graduate students and even professionals sometimes struggle with.”

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