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The 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award Goes to Hana S. Kim

This Adventurous, Emerging Live Performance Set and Projection Designer Loves Merging Media & Cultures


Hana S. Kim receives the 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award during the 28th Annual LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards.

Photo by Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging

Hana S. Kim loves the cultural cross-pollination of Los Angeles art and artists—which is one of the reasons why Center Theatre Group chose this talented live performance set and projection designer as our 2018 Richard E. Sherwood Award recipient.

This honor, which is bestowed at the LA Stage Alliance Ovation Awards and includes a $10,000 prize, is given annually to nurture innovative and adventurous emerging theatre artists working in Los Angeles.

I feel like Los Angeles has a very encouraging atmosphere of crossover, said Kim. I keep getting surprised by the diversity of people and culture. There are always different things popping up, and I’m always getting exposed to new technology. The merging of different kinds of visual media—from film and theatre to virtual reality—feels like it’s still growing, still trying out different things. And that’s very exciting.

As a child growing up in Korea, Kim wanted to be a cartoonist; her interest in visual storytelling, and her father’s work as a film director, inspired her to begin her career in the world of film. She attended the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television intending to study film design and dip her toe into theatre, but then leaned heavily into the theatre side of the program. Now, her work sits at the intersection of theatre and film.

Being comfortable with a cinematic approach to theatre helped me get involved in more productions, she said. It felt like a combination of my old and new interests. What keeps her in theatre is the liveness of it and the communal experience, she said.

Hana S. Kim

Since 1996, the Sherwood Award has met a vital need in the Los Angeles theatre landscape to support emerging artists. Richard E. Sherwood—former president and chairman of the Center Theatre Group Board of Directors—was a patron of the arts with a special appreciation for emerging artists who are in the vanguard of theatre. The award was established as an endowed fund at Center Theatre Group by his family, friends, colleagues, and fellow board members, to honor Sherwood’s passionate commitment to theatre.

Kim said she was humbled to be in the company of past Sherwood recipients whose work she has admired, including lighting designer Pablo Santiago, Miwa Matreyek of Cloud Eye Control, Lars Jan of Early Morning Opera, and costume designer Ann Closs-Farley. I’m feeling challenged to do my best to fit in with the group, said Kim.

For now, that means working on a rock opera in San Francisco called Weightless based on part of Ovid’s Metamorphoses. It’s got a lot of transformation and a lot of magic that needs to be solved, said Kim. She’s hoping to make even more magic with her Sherwood Award monies, which she’s planning to invest in interactivity and virtual reality gear. She’s excited to try out new techniques and tricks on her upcoming projects and in the long-term, to take on more larger-scale projects and work with a team. I’ve been working as more of a one-man band, and I want to meet more collaborators—that would be amazing.

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