Theatre Professor Designs Major Automotive Event

In early December 2010, in advance of the January 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Ford Motor Company held a preview event inside its Michigan Assembly Plant for around 200 invited members of the automotive press. The task of designing an environment within the functioning manufacturing facility was a challenge that was welcomed by Terry McClellan, Professor in the NIU School of Theatre and Dance. The design for this live event was used to successfully introduce the new 2012 Ford model line-up including concept cars Vertrek and Cmax. The scenic design included a special branded entry, a raked audience seating area and a stage area with a 40’ wide proscenium arch structure which incorporated a variety of theatrical means to reveal the vehicles including scrim curtains, wide format front projection screen and multiple turntables. The set included a 24' high main stage and a custom 38-foot diameter turntable. A smaller 18-foot turntable was embedded into the larger turntable to enable cars to rotate concurrently using a digital automation system. Planning and coordination with all the different technical and design crews was a significant challenge in order to efficiently construct and rehearse the event within a 4 day time period without impacting the ongoing work at the plant. The dramatic presentation provided an in-depth view of Ford’s future automotive plans and the intimate scale encouraged a “hands-on” look at the featured cars for the audience.

Additional images of Terry's design at the event may be viewed here.

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