Elevate & the TEDxHuntsville balloon man

Posted by Robin Barr - 29 August, 2014

Screenshot 2014-08-28 17.03.20We’ve all seen TED Talks. You know, those “Ideas worth spreading”? But did you ever stop to wonder what makes it all come together into the vibrant, inspirational, entertaining event we’ve all come to expect? Not surprisingly, it takes months of working, planning, and organizing.

When the sixth annual TEDxHuntsville conference, hosted in Randolph’s Thurber Arts Center, opens on Sunday, September 7, it will be with the help of Randolph students, faculty, and staff.

“This event has been a wonderful partnership between Randolph, its arts programming, and the Huntsville community,” says Adam Bernick, Arts Director. “It’s truly a win for Huntsville, as well as a win for Randolph. We’ve been working with Hiroko Sumikura for three years now to help produce a first class event for our community, and it gets better every year.”

During a summer planning meeting between Randolph and TEDxHuntsville organizers, the theme for this year’s conference, “Elevate” was announced. As ideas were exchanged, the concept for a stage design with the image of a hot air balloon began to take shape.

2013-10-24 09.03.48 HDRRandolph drama teacher, Connie Voight, was consulted about having some of her technical theater students take on this task. The design for the set was the brainchild of Gary Boggs, an experienced stage and theater veteran, both in front of and behind the curtain. Under Gary’s supervision, Randolph students are constructing the “balloon.”

Gary Boggs drew plans for the TEDxHuntsville balloon. Gary Boggs drew plans for the TEDxHuntsville balloon.


Gary said, “I’ve always enjoyed working here at Randolph, helping the staff on a variety of special events, but TEDx holds a special place in my heart. Theater has always been my creative outlet and the opportunity to make something special, like this balloon, is an honor. Bringing everyone together to share our talents is what TEDx is all about and I'm proud to contribute in that fashion.”

All Randolph students, faculty and staff, and families are invited and encouraged to attend the conference. They may register for free by contacting their division office, Communications, or the Arts office.

Randolph administration at all levels has been supportive of the TEDx event. Ryan Liese, Upper School head, said, “Part of being an effective educator is to search for new ideas and avenues for growth, and the TED community as a whole provides us with the opportunity to stretch ourselves in this way. The Huntsville community is one that embraces and celebrates innovation, and as a school our involvement with TEDx allows us to be engaged in the development of these new ideas.”

When Sunday afternoon winds down and the last speaker moves from his or her place on the red circle, the final piece of work will begin, the de-construction of the stage design, including that amazing balloon. As the takedown proceeds, we wouldn’t be surprised to hear statements like, “Next year, wouldn’t it be cool if we could….?” or “I think we could do _____ better.” And so the planning begins…

Topics: community, Community Learning, Huntsville, stagecraft, TEDx, TEDxHuntsville, the world, theater, Theatre Randolph, Upper School

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