National Theater Organization honors UTEP professor


Last update on February 23, 2022 at 00:00

Originally published February 23, 2022

By MC Staff

UTEP Marketing and Communication

The University of Texas at Hideaki Tsutsui in El Paso received a 2021 Excellence in Undergraduate Education Award from the University Resident Theater Association (URTA) in a virtual ceremony on January 29, 2022.

Hideaki Tsutsui, professor and acting chair of the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of Texas at El Paso, received a 2021 Excellence in Undergraduate Training Award from the University Resident Theater Association (URTA) during a a virtual ceremony on January 29, 2022. The honor recognizes the exceptional work done by individuals and institutions to prepare undergraduate theater artists.

The honor recognizes outstanding work done by individuals and institutions to prepare undergraduate theater artists. Tsutsui, a professor and acting director of UTEP’s Department of Theater and Dance, earned her award in the area of ​​sound design and technology.

Tsutsui said the award recognizes the work he has done to improve himself as an artist and as an educator since UTEP hired him in 2008. He is a lighting designer and award-winning and in-demand production that has worked on events in London, Prague and cities across the United States.

The artist/educator said the honor aligns with his goal of leading a department that creates a passionate, positive, and inclusive learning experience for students that could shape the future demographics of the theater and dance industries.

“I believe what I do is educate and mentor students to become better citizens and individuals who can contribute to the community and the world, and I use theater as a vehicle to do this” , said Tsutsui.

Denis O’Hearn, Ph.D., dean of the College of Liberal Arts, called Tsutsui one of many examples of caring and excellent teachers and mentors at UTEP.

“We are very proud that his efforts have been recognized with this award,” O’Hearn said.

Zak Stribling, senior lecturer/production designer/technical director in the Department of Theater and Dance at the University of Kentucky, said Tsutsui deserved the national honor for his expertise and creativity as an artist and educator. He called the UTEP professor one of the best lighting designers in the country who could work professionally if he wanted to, but he prefers to teach.

“(Tsutsui) cares about nurturing the next generation of theater artists and providing them with a place to grow and learn their craft,” Stribling said. “He loves teaching and he loves the students.”

Stribling has known Tsutsui since they were graduate students at Florida State University in 2002. He said Tsutsui mentored him and over the years he has seen his friend influence countless other students through the Gateway program. from the US Institute for Theater Technology.

Among the students influenced is Kassia Curl, a theater arts major with a concentration in lighting. She recently returned from a visit to the UC Irvine campus organized by Tsutsui to learn more about its lighting design graduate program. The El Paso native said she worked and took classes with Tsutsui for four years. She called him a great educator.

“When he teaches content, he shares examples of what he’s done in his own career,” said Curl, who served as Tsutsui’s master electrician during the 2019 UTEP production of “Real Women Have Curves.” . “These details make the class more interesting and realistic.”

Among Tsutsui’s recent extracurricular assignments were lighting design for “Elf The Musical” in December 2021 in Augusta, Georgia, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four in April 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the NASCAR Coca-Cola 600 in May 2021 in Charlottesville. , North Carolina. He called these events research missions. He learns new ideas and how to use the latest technologies, then shares his discoveries with his students.

URTA Executive Director Anthony “Tony” Hagopian thanked Tsutsui for his work that elevates the fields of theater and entertainment through his dedication and “excellent” training of new artists. URTA supports the ongoing renewal of American theater through its support of excellence in the professional training of new artists.

“Through these awards, URTA seeks to recognize the importance of helping young theater artists develop the essential skills they will need to progress to the next level of their training, and ultimately the profession,” wrote Hagopian in Tsutsui’s announcement letter.


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