The Smith Award is named for one of NCTC’s founders and is one of the organization’s highest honors. NCTC Executive Director Angie Hays and Judy Dove, secretary of NCTC’s board of directors, presented Saari the award Jan. 9 during a Greensboro College faculty meeting. Saari’s wife, Lisa, and his son, Sean, a design and technical production instructor in the Greensboro College theatre department, also took part in the presentation.
Saari, an active NCTC member, joined the Greensboro College faculty in 1990. In 2006, he received the Moore Professorship at Greensboro College for his service to the profession and the college. He teaches a variety of courses including stage design; stage craft; lighting design; theatre history; scene painting; production lab; special topics courses in properties, plastics, intelligent lighting, advanced design, and rendering methods; and seminars in portfolio preparation.
Saari has over 500 scenic design credits and several hundred lighting design credits on his resume. He has designed productions for Donnie and Marie Osmond, MTV, PBS and the Kennedy Center. He has consulted on and overseen five major renovations of performing arts spaces in the Greensboro area.
Saari is the master class mentor for the United States Institute for Theatre Technology-Southeast, where he has served on the executive committee for 24 years. He is active in the Southeastern Theatre Conference and the Institute of Outdoor Theatre. He has been the Technical Director for the NCTC State High School Play Festival and College Discovery Day since 2008.
John and Lisa Saari founded Sculptural Arts Coating, Inc., which produces construction tools, paints, plastic varnishes and primers engineered for use in theatre design. The Saaris’ company sponsors the graduate and undergraduate scene design competition at the annual meeting of the Southeastern Theatre Conference.
The North Carolina Theatre Conference is the statewide service organization and professional association for the theatre industry. NCTC’s mission is to strengthen North Carolina’s vibrant theatre industry and engage tomorrow’s artists, audiences and advocates. Each year, NCTC’s board of directors presents the NCTC Awards annually to companies, schools and individuals that have exhibited leadership roles in their communities, as well as artistic, professional or educational excellence.
Greensboro College provides a liberal arts education grounded in the traditions of the United Methodist Church and fosters the intellectual, social, and, spiritual development of all students while supporting their individual needs.
Founded in 1838 and located in downtown Greensboro, the college enrolls about 1,000 students from 29 states and territories, the District of Columbia, and seven foreign countries in its undergraduate liberal-arts program and four master’s degree programs. In addition to rigorous academics and a well-supported Honors program, the school features an 18-sport NCAA Division III athletic program and dozens of service and recreational opportunities.