The Great Plains Theatre Conference Design Wing is a program to help expand the conceptual boundaries and experiential reference for a new generation of designers in the performing arts. National designer Justin Townsend will lead five emerging designers in an exploration of process that will involve: research, installations, work on the groundbreaking PlayFest evenings, and a deep immersion with the artists and activities at the Great Plains Theatre Conference. The designers will work for twelve days moving between the GPTC events, workshops, and a design lab. Emphasis will be placed on the latest developments in the design process for the performing arts and integration with the national playwrights at the conference. The emerging designers will have a chance to expand their purview with these top national artists with the goal of strengthening the cultural fabric of the performing arts both locally and nationally.

The work of the Design Wing will correspond with a larger collaborative effort by the GPTC to explore new possibilities for how creativity becomes manifest in our communities.

“Participating in the Great Plains Theatre Conference Design Wing changed the way I, as a designer, approach new plays and has made me hungry to get involved in the process of creating new work as early as possible. I now have an interest in collaborating directly with playwrights as well as directors of new plays. In conjunction, at GPTC, I have met many exciting playwrights with whom I hope to make work in the future. As a direct result of attending the conference last year, I designed the set and lighting for Sara Farrington's Mickey and Sage at Incubator Arts Space in New York City and will be designing Requiem for Black Marie for her this coming summer. The conference also introduced me to other young designers from around the country. The discussions about our varying experiences as designers of new works and what our roles are and could be helped me expand and focus my interests as I continue to participate in the creation of new plays. Peter Ksander and Justin Townsend have created something very special with this program, and I know it will grow to become even more over time. What an amazing and singular program. I do not think there's anything bringing playwrights and designers together in the same way anywhere else. What a privilege to participate in working towards new and exciting theatre in a way other than one play at a time.”

- Cecilia Durbin, Design Wing Fellow 2012