Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory student recognized for technical theatre work

Madison Hushen, a Harlingen High School South junior and Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory student, was recognized for her technical theatre work by Electronic Theatre Controls (ETC).

Recently, Hushen programmed and created looks for the “Legally Blonde” show at the Harlingen Performing Arts Conservatory.  Her work included running the show outside cues and following the movement on stage to create different looks through lighting.

“Mr. Armendariz had recorded a video of me busking, as we call it, which is basically just manually running lights,” Hushen said. “The show, ‘Legally Blonde’, is really hard to record and do lights for.”

Hushen’s work was shared with a group of professional lighting designers and industry professionals. ETC, a company that makes lighting instruments and equipment used in theatres, took notice.

“To be acknowledged by such a group of leading professionals is an amazing compliment and is great validation of Madison’s hard work,” PAC lighting engineer and technical theatre instructor Joseph Armendariz said. “The head of the actor’s union in New York even chimed in saying incredible job.”

Last year, Hushen, along with the South One-Act Play tech team, received recognition for their work at competition.

“They stopped what they were doing, which is unprecedented, to call out our tech team and her as the most professional,” Armendariz said. “These kids are very dedicated. When preparing for shows, sometimes they stay here until 10 o’clock.”

Hushen first discovered a passion for lighting when she joined One-Act Play as a sophomore.

 “I was invited by a friend to join,” Hushen said. “Originally, I was just going to do stuff in the back and not get too involved, but I ended up falling in love with doing lighting. Every day I am learning something new about the board or something new about a different form of lighting, and it is a really incredible experience to have. It’s something I definitely enjoy doing, and that was a catalyst of my career in the conservatory.”

Her favorite part about lighting is the creativity.

“There is a lot of creativity that goes into lighting design,” Hushen said. “You have to really know what sort of tone you want to set for a show, and the lighting plays a massive role in that. I also like a lot of the hands-on work. Everything we do, we start from the ground up. I really like that we learn skills that aren’t just for lighting. You have to learn how to problem solve in this kind of career, and that is definitely something that you can take with you outside of the PAC.”

Hushen hopes to pursue a career in lighting in the future.

“It’s something I really enjoy whether it be concert lighting or technical theatre lighting,” Hushen said. “I think it’s very artistic and a very underlooked form of art and medium. I think it’s something I am getting really good at and something I definitely want to pursue and see where it takes me.”

As a conservatory student on the technical theatre track, Hushen is grateful for all the opportunities she has and hopes to continue learning new skills each day.

“I’ve been learning about programming, lighting, wiring, and all the tricks of the trade,” Hushen said. “When I graduate, I will have a lot under my belt to be able to start working in a career. I would like to thank Mr. Armendariz because he has been a mentor to me. I am really grateful for him giving me this opportunity and trusting me to be able to do all of these things.” 

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