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Emerson Gift Establishes Technology and Production Training Center

Industry-leading center will gather students and professionals from around the country to explore and implement the latest advances in stage production technology including video projection, scenic automation, and state-of-the-art lighting design.


St. Louis, MO — Opera Theatre of Saint Louis (OTSL) announces a lead gift of $350,000 from Emerson to establish the Emerson Technology & Production Training Center at the Sally S. Levy Opera Center.  The center will include a state-of-the-art digital media lab enabling students, interns, and leading professionals to master new technologies in video and lighting design, video projection, and scenic automation.  The center will also incorporate an adjacent rehearsal hall, allowing production artists to instantly transfer technology applications to a rehearsal setting. 


The Emerson Technology & Production Training Center completes the Sally S. Levy Opera Center, which was conceived under the leadership of former General Director Charles MacKay and made possible by the $11 million Building for Opera campaign.  The Sally S. Levy Opera Center continues to sustain the artistic work of the company with state-of-the-art rehearsal facilities and opportunities like the Emerson Technology & Production Training Center.


“We are enormously grateful for this visionary gift which continues Emerson’s long tradition of support for Opera Theatre and will energize a new generation of designers in an art form that is increasingly driven by new technologies for video projection, computerized effects, and more,” says OTSL General Director Timothy O’Leary.  “The Emerson Technology & Production Training Center will be a setting that inspires creativity and opportunities for practical application, further enhancing OTSL’s role as a national leader in the use of inventive theater technology.”


“The Emerson Technology & Production Training Center fosters local innovation by bringing together state-of-the-art technology with artists and technicians from around the world,” says Emerson Senior Vice-President of Administration Robert M. Cox.  “Emerson is proud to help keep St. Louis at the forefront of production technology, continuing our longtime partnership with Opera Theatre.”


The intimate size of OTSL’s theater has inspired the use of highly innovative video projection and automation in past productions including Nixon in China in 2004, The Ghosts of Versailles in 2009, the world premiere production of The Golden Ticket in 2010, and The Death of Klinghoffer in 2011.  The newly constructed Emerson Technology & Production Training Center will foster continued advancements for OTSL and the field of opera in the application of advanced technology for artistic endeavors.  Uses of the new center will include master classes for technical production artists, software training for theater video applications, and experimentation with new technology for projected text systems. 


Since OTSL’s founding in 1976, Emerson’s generous support has played a vital role in the company’s ability to identify and develop the artists who will shape the future of opera.  In partnership with Emerson, Opera Theatre has trained more than 60 technical artisans in the last 5 years through Emerson Behind the Curtain, an innovative program that prepares students for careers in a range of technical specialties from computer aided drafting and construction to automation of stage machinery.  


Opera Theatre is a sustaining member of the Arts and Education Council of Greater Saint Louis, and receives major support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Missouri Arts Council.