Meet Lighting Designer, Vandy Wood!

What inspired you to become a theater maker and lighting designer?

I always loved theatre and even while a student visual artist I dabbled in set design for theatre and film. Later I was hired by Syracuse Stage for a props artisan position and I never stopped doing theatre after that. The fact that the things I made or designed went away in a month became very freeing for me creatively.

What kind of education prepared you for this career?

I earned a BFA in Visual Arts at SUNY Purchase in NY and then later joined an MFA class at UNCG with a focus in scenography.

 What school subjects that our students may be studying do you use everyday?

I regularly use art history, anatomy, math, and engineering in my work as a scenic, lighting, and puppet designer. I use language and writing regularly in my teaching.

Was The Legend of Sleepy Hollow a story you were familiar with before working on this show?

Yes. I have known and loved the story since I was a very young.

What did you use as inspiration while designing the lights for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow? 

The description or the chase is very visceral. I easily hear and feel it. I also spend a lot of time in nature and routinely camp in the woods. There is a very specific way that things can become mysterious in the woods at night. I also find the timing of the shift from one character to another character inspiring and amusing.

What are three words you would use to describe this production?

Funny, Creepy, Engaging.

Ichabod is very superstitious, do you have any superstitions?

Not really, but I find them very interesting.

Do you enjoy scary stories?

Absolutely! I have always loved them. I love the emotional journey evoked by suspenseful stories. I first learned how to have agency over my exploration of creepy stories while watching Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds through the crack of a door as a child.

Vandy Wood is a visual artist and theatrical designer from Central New York. She is currently an associate professor of design and the coordinator of the TYA MFA program for the theatre department at the University of Central Florida. Vandy has been designing professionally for theatre and video since 1986. Recent creative activities include scenic and lighting designs for Theatre UCF, The Orlando Family Stage, and Orlando Shakespeare Theatre, JMU, and directing and designing touring productions for IBEX Puppetry. 

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