Contact: Jonathan Middents
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Our purpose is to train technicians and designers broadly in the theatre. All Production majors are exposed to courses and hands-on, practical experience in scenic, lighting and sound, and costume technology, as well as design classes in each of those fields. Students may opt to specialize in an area as juniors and seniors or may choose to pursue a broader education in the field. Recognizing the realities of the job market in theatre and associated industries, it is our goal to train our students for immediate employment as artisans upon graduation or to prepare them well for graduate study in design or technology fields. Production undergraduates serve on mainstage productions as crew heads , design assistants, and occasionally as designers. Our Studio productions typically are staffed entirely by undergraduate designers and technicians. School of Theatre & Dance Production faculty and staff take a deep interest in students' progress and strive to consistantly serve as examples, as mentors, and as advisors to our students.
Kevin Rigdon is a Professor at the University of Houston where he teaches Scenic and Lighting Design and is the Head of Graduate Design. In addition to teaching, Mr. Rigdon is the Associate Director/Design for Houston ’s Alley Theatre. Mr. Rigdon’s career in theatre began in 1974 when he joined fellow classmates Gary Sinise and Jeff Perry as the resident designer for the newly formed Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Since then Mr. Rigdon has designed over 345 productions including such Broadway productions as One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, The Old Neighborhood, Buried Child, The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, The Song Of Jacob Zulu, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Grapes Of Wrath Our Town (lighting), Speed The Plow, The Caretaker, and Glengarry Glen Ross, in addition to a number of Off-Broadway productions. In Great Britain, he has designed for the Royal National Theatre, the Barbican Centre, Theatre Royal Bath, and on the West End.
Mr. Rigdon has been honored with two Tony Award nominations, seven Joseph Jefferson Awards, four Drama Desk Award nominations, two American Theatre Wing Design Awards, and The Drama Logue Award In 2003. He is a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.
Steven W. Wallace
Steven W. Wallace served as Director of the University of Houston’s School of Theatre and Dance from 2007-2013. Prior to that he served as Dean of the School of Theatre at the Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. Previous to his arrival at Florida State, Mr. Wallace was the Director of the School of Drama at the University of Oklahoma, Norman, and Artistic Director of University Theatre.
Professor Wallace's major areas of professional research and creative activity lie in the fields of new play development and directing. Most recently he served as Producer/Co-Director of Hit Lit: A Killer Comedy written and co-directed by comedian/writer Robert Wuhl. The production premiered at the University of Houston and moved to New York‘s Queens Theatre for an Off-Broadway run. He also served as Associate Producer for the Broadway production of Prymate, originally developed and premiered at FSU. He is a frequent collaborator of Mark Medoff’s, having produced and directed a number of his plays including the recently published drama Gunfighter: A Gulf War Chronicle.
Jonathan Middents has been the Production Manager and an associate professor at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance since 1983, teaching design and production courses and serving as Head of the Production Area. He has been a designer and/or technical director for over 400 theatre, opera, and television productions in both educational and professional settings. He has professionally consulted on the design or renovation of ten theatres.
Jon regularly designs in the areas of scenery, lighting, and sound for the UH School of Theatre and Dance, for the Houston Shakespeare Festival and for UH-Downtown Theatre. He teaches classes in hand and CAD drafting, lighting design, sound design, history of architecture, interiors, and décor, and advanced stagecraft topics, as well as supervising our Production classes.
He received a BA in Psychology from Rice University and an MFA in Theatre Design from Florida State University. Jon has served previously as a faculty member and as designer/technical director at Indiana State University, the University of Texas at Austin, and University of Houston-Clear Lake.
Claremarie Verheyen, a successful freelance designer and technician, is an associate professor at the University of Houston, teaching costume history, costume design, and make-up. During her forty years as a theatre artist, she has designed over 400 productions including drama, opera, dance, high fashion, film, video, television, circus and commercials.
In addition to her academic and commercial work in Houston, she has served as an executive member and president of the Houston' Theatre Network, an active member and portfolio commissioner of the National United States Institute for Theatre and Technology and as a second vice-president for the USITT Southwest Region. She regularly offers Commedia Mask workshops and symposiums in museums, colleges and regional theatres. Claremarie has advanced fashion millinery training and went to Italy to research the original techniques for the creation of Commedia-dell-arte-Masks.
Paige A. Willson
Paige A. Willson is an Instructional Associate Professor of Costume Design and Technology. She received her BFA from The University of Louisiana-Lafayette, in Performing Arts/ Dance, and her MFA from The University of Houston Theatre / Costume, Lighting and Scenic Design. She was the Crafts Master/ Milliner at the Alley Theatre from 2004-2009. A nationally known Mask and Crafts artisan, some of her work has been seen in Rooms: a rock romance at New World Stages, 1776 and the Importance of being Earnest at the Papermill Playhouse. Her masks have been on display at Art On Broad street an art gallery in Augusta, Georgia, at Rice University in the faculty art exhibit @work@play, at Catalina Coffee in Houston. Her masks seen in works at the Alley Theatre include Much Ado About Nothing, A Christmas Carol, The Crucible, Cyrano De Bergerac, Eurydice, and Something Rare and Wonderful.
Costume Design credits for the Houston Shakespeare Festival include A Midsummer Night's Dream (2010 & 2002), Much Ado about Nothing, Othello The Tempest, As You Like it, The Taming of the Shrew (2011 & 2004), and The Winter’s Tale.
Barbara Niederer, an Instructional Assistant Professor, has an M.F.A. in Costume Design from Southern Illinois University. While she has designed many productions, she has earned her living principally as a costume technician. Ms. Niederer has worked as a costume shop manager, draper, first hand, tailor, dyer/painter, milliner, wig stylist, design assistant, dresser and wardrobe mistress. In the Chicago area she worked for The Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Body Politic, Marriott’s Lincolnshire Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook, and worked for twelve years for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre as their wardrobe manager and then costume shop manager. While there she was given the first Hurkes Award for technical excellence. Outside of Chicago Barbara was a draper for the Alley Theatre here in Houston for their productions of Treasure Island and An American in Paris. She did two seasons with Actors Theatre of Louisville as a draper/tailor, was a draper for Tacoma Actors Guild and was the costume shop manager for New American Theatre in Rockford, Illinois.
Ms. Niederer has previously worked in educational theatre at College of DuPage, Northwestern University’s School of Music, University of Aurora and Pacific Lutheran University.
Kenneth Poston is originally from South Carolina, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Theatre at the University of South Carolina. He went on to receive an MFA in Theatre, with an emphasis in Technical Production, from the Professional Theatre Training Program at the University of Delaware in 2003. He has since served as faculty with West Chester University in West Chester PA., as Technical Director for Perseverance Theatre in Juneau, Alaska, as well as Technical Director for the Savannah College of Art and Design’s Production Design program. He has been known to spend an inordinate amount of time, while away on vacations, touring hardware stores and lumber yards anywhere from Anchorage, Alaska, to San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Draper and Costume Shop Foreman
Margaret Crowley is a member of the adjunct faculty. She earned her BFA in Design and Technology for Theater in 1988 from the University of Texas at Arlington. After serving a half-year internship in the costume department for the State Opera in Vienna, Austria, she went on, in 1993, to complete her MFA in Costume Design at the University of Texas. In her 23 years working in Houston, Mrs. Crowley has worked as a draper and built costumes for many institutions including the Alley Theater, Houston Ballet, Houston Grand Opera, Houston Shakespeare Festival, and the UH School of Theater & Dance. She has also acted as the costume designer for productions at the Mainstreet Adult and Youth Theatres, Stages Repertory Theatre, Classical Theater Company, Houston Shakespeare Festival, Theater Lab, and The Ensemble Theatre, among others. As an adjunct instructor at UH, Mrs. Crowley teaches first and second level patterning and draping on the undergraduate level.
Scenic Charge Artist and Properties Supervisor
Lauren received her Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Scenic Design from Boston University. There she fell in love with scenic art and went on to hone her skills at the Goodspeed Opera Company in Connecticut. She also attended several intensive paint seminars at the Cobalt Studios in upstate New York before moving to New York City. She worked on numerous Off-Broadway productions, produced custom prop cars for the Broadway productions of Grease and Rock Of Ages, painted and sculpted store displays and photo shoot sets for Henri Bendels and MAC cosmetics, and created several displays for the American Museum of Natural History which have gone on to tour nationwide. Lauren is happy to return to her Houston roots where she has enjoyed working for Stages, Catastrophic, and Main Street Theater, and most especially she is excited to be a part of the University of Houston theatre team.
Assistant Technical Director and Lighting Supervisor
Michael DeBose is a native of Cleveland, Ohio; proud graduate of Cleveland School of the Arts; and current Assistant Technical Director (ATD) for the UH School of Theatre & Dance. Michael embarked on his career path at an early age. Beginning in the 8th grade, he interned at the Karamu House Theatre (Cleveland, Ohio), retaining this position through his senior year of high school. He took advantage of all opportunities to hone his craft, including simultaneously attending high school and college courses through Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C). Upon graduation from Cleveland School of the Arts, Michael entered his first year at Dillard University as a sophomore and received a degree in Speech Communication & Theatre Arts. After graduation, he was hired as the Master Carpenter and Master Electrician in the Dillard University Theatre department. He went on to receive his M.F.A. in Technical Direction from California Institute of Arts (CalArts). While attending CalArts, he became the T.D. for BlackTree Media in Los Angeles and continued as a freelance lighting designer for Vincent Lighting Systems in Cleveland. As a freelance artisan in Cleveland, Michael won a Bronze Telly Award & Regional Emmy Award for the construction of SportsTime Ohio’s (STO) Hyundai Studio TV Set. The award-winning set has since been rebranded as Fox SportsTime Ohio. Next, Michael signed on at Tri-C Metro, as ATD for Two Trains Running and scenic designer for Trouble In Mind. In 2014, as Technical Consultant for the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication Advertising department, he built a 7’ pair of sunglasses that won an Addy Award. He also served as Scenic Designer for Plantanos Y Collard Greens at The Ensemble Theatre.