University of Calgary

April Viczko

  • Associate Professor
  • Division Chair - Drama

Biography

April is a set, costume, lighting and projection designer. Recent selected credits include: costumes for Butcher at Alberta Theatre Projects, In the Heat of the Night at Vertigo Theatre, set and costumes for As You Like It at Citadel Theatre, set design for Home at The Belfry and lighting design for Victor and Victoria’s Terrifying Tale of Terrible Things for Kill Your Television. April has also worked for companies such as Tarragon, Factory Theatre, Workshop West, Windrow Performance. She was nominated for a Dora Award for Outstanding Costume Design for the critically acclaimed Last Days of Judas Iscariot produced by Birdland Theatre.

April is an Associate Professor in the School of Creative and Performing Arts - Drama at the University of Calgary. She teaches courses in all areas of theatre design and scenography. April holds an MFA Theatre Design from the University of Alberta. In 2012, she was honoured with a Distinguished Researcher Award from the Faculty of Arts.

She is President of the Board of Directors for the Associated Designers of Canada (ADC). ADC is a national, professional non-profit arts service organization dedicated to promoting, pursuing and protecting the interests of set, costume, lighting, projection and sound designers working within the performing arts in Canada.

In 2006, she shared the Siminovitch Protege Prize. In 2000 she recieved a Tyrone Guthrie Award at the Stratford Festival of Canada where she spent four seasons as an assistant designer. She has was also Associate Designer on two productions at the Canadian Opera Company, Rodelinda and Macbeth. April apprenticed in Rome, Italy with Scenotecnica Piu’, a company known for its fine craftmanship and majestic scenography.

Research

My research and creative activity falls into four streams: Set design, Costume design, Lighting design and Projection design. These four streams are intricately connected yet can be studied separately and are often practiced in pairs by many designers. I belong to a select group of designers with professional membership in all four disciplines of Theatre Design recognized by the Associated Designers of Canada. As in my teaching, in my research I am looking for the interconnectedness of all areas of Theatre and especially of Theatre Design.

In my creative activity I take great pleasure from designing original productions and view this aspect of my work as particularly exceptional and important. I have had the fortunate experience of working on Classical theatre and Opera productions at a very high level of prestige and skill both nationally and internationally. This work in the classical repertoires has given me the rigor needed to make every production of a new play the best first production possible. Almost half of the productions I have designed in the last 10 years have been world premieres.

I am also investigator on a project entitled Costume Design: Designer’s Speak Through Sketch, which views the costume sketch as an original source text containing evidence of the designer’s contextual understanding of character within the world of the play and the audience’s reality. I am examining original sketches from first-run Canadian plays to discuss the designer’s unique perspectives. A database of Canadian costume sketches is also being created as a part of this unique project.

Recent Theatre Design Credits

YearTitleCompanyDesignDirector
2014Victor & Victoria‘s Terrifying Tale of Terrible Things Kill Your TelevisionLighting & CostumesKevin Sutley
2014ButcherATPCostumesWeyni Mengesha
2014HomeBelfry TheatreSetMichael Shamata
2013The ValleyATPCostumesLinda Moore
2013The ApologyATPCostumesKate Newby
2012Drama: Pilot EpisodeATPCostumesBlake Brooker
2012Ash RizinATPCostumesPatrick McDonald
2012Thinking of YuATPCostumesAllan Dilworth
2011True Love LiesCitadel TheatreCostumesRon Jenkins
2010Garage AlecVillage TheatreSetRon Jenkins
2010As You Like ItCitadel TheatreSet & CostumesJames MacDonald
2009BlackbirdCitadel TheatreCostumesWayne Paquete
2009Back to YouMusical TheatreworksSet & LightingBarb Tomasic
2009Seed SaversWorkshop WestSet & LightingMichael Clark

Full CV

Teaching

My first priority is to teach theatre, not only design. I seek to involve students in the investigation of the interconnectedness of writing and action, of action and scenography and of scenography and technical implementation. That is, I employ a constructivist approach to teaching and learning with the goal of assisting the student artist in finding his or her own voice.

My approach to teaching takes place in primarily two forms: Studio and Mentorship.

The Studio Context is where theory and skills are learned and explored individually and in a group. The Studio courses are where I have the most fun as a teacher; this is where I feel I really get to know the students and where we work together to construct knowledge. In Studio I am also a learner. While I am teaching new skills or techniques I am learning and making discoveries along side the students. Studio teaching is delicate work that requires me to know when to lead and when to follow where the students are going. I also take the notion of Studio to the traditional classroom. Several of the projects I assign in non-studio courses are projects that are a creative means to dissemination, for example illustrating a children’s story using costume history research.

Mentorship is where I make myself an example for students to see in the context of a professional artistic life. And working with students in the theatre on Department productions allows me to engage with the student in the practice of their art and advise them on methods and strategies that will produce the outcome they desire. Mentorship also involves guiding the student into the profession and helping those who are ready to make professional connections. I bring students into all my professional productions.

Curriculum Vitae

Degrees

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