NET/TEN Shareback: Jennifer Kimball - Interview with Projection Designer Mike Tutaj

Spring 2017 Travel Grant Recipient

Jennifer Kimball (Clarkston, GA) engaged in a technical production mentorship under Mike Tutaj, a projection and sound designer based in Chicago, IL. Kimball made three visits to observe Tutaj in different stages of a production process, and Tutaj traveled to Atlanta to culminate their multi-step conversation.


I was awarded a Travel Grant by the Network of Ensemble Theatres in the spring of 2017 to study under acclaimed projection and sound designer Mike Tutaj. This grant enabled me to fly to Chicago, his home base, to accompany him during the load-in for The Gin Game at Drury Lane in June 2017; to travel to Los Angeles to attend tech week for the Los Angeles premiere of King of the Yees, a co-production with the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, in July 2017; and to bring Mike to Atlanta in October for a follow-up visit to recap our experiences and introduce him to some of my favorite collaborators - individuals, companies and their venues - in Atlanta.

Through this mentorship, we were able to explore the latest, best and most expensive projection options for live performance, and we were also able to explore more accessible options and their surprising capabilities as well as their limitations.

I learned a lot about the technology available to integrate digital media into live performance in some pretty astonishing ways, but perhaps the most valuable part of this experience was learning how to meaningfully integrate the concepts: technology changes, and much of what's out there isn't accessible for everyone. But when you approach the conversation with a focus on the story you're trying to tell or the experience you're trying to create and with a solution-oriented mindset, projections can be a compelling, inspiring, powerful tool.

--Jennifer Kimball

Interview with Projection Designer Mike Tutaj

Contents of Video:

  • What are some different ways projections can serve a live production?
  • When projections weren't originally in the play
  • For example: GIN GAME
  • Role of the designer in the room
  • Projection Designer as Ensemble Member
  • Another example: King of the Yees
  • Q1: What do you wish more people that hire you did or knew or
  • thought about in their production process?
  • A1: Clarity
  • Q2: What's the best advice you can give to an artist or artistic
  • team looking to use projections to enhance their production?
  • A2: Have the designer around for concept conversations.
  • Special Thanks

Tech Talk with Jennifer Kimball


Production photo from King of the Yees; Photo by Craig Schwartz
Production photo from King of the Yees; Photo by Craig Schwartz.

Jennifer Kimball Headshot
Jennifer Kimball

Mike Tutaj Headshot
Mike Tutaj

Kirk Douglas Theatre exterior
Kirk Douglas Theatre



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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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