Department Headshots



This year, as a department, we are taking headshots so our students’ photos for our productions this season have a consistent look to them. For some of our students this is the first time doing headshots this way, so it can certainly be a learning experience.
Hopefully we can share some of the finished product with you as you see this season’s productions!

Thanks to our friend David Sprayberry for taking our photos this year!

Video: 1960’s Stagehands

Here’s the link to a great documentary video from the 1960’s talking about being a stagehand.  50 years later, it’s surprising how similar it is to today – especially with larger productions touring the United States (the film shows people working on the original tour of My Fair Lady).

We often talk about how many jobs there are backstage – this shows those people in action.

The Scenic Artist

I have often found that many people don’t understand how scenic painting works.  The fact that we can make a bare stage look like anything we want with the right brushes, rollers, or other tools seems like a foreign concept to some.  I think part of this is a lack of understanding of what a scenic artist does.  We don’t just make it up as we go along.

There are specific tools that we can use, and certain types of paint that work better than others.  But knowing all the different tools and paints that are available to use is half the battle.   Knowing the differences between paint and glaze, or a regular brush and a chip brush.  To most a paint brush is a paint brush, and a sponge is just something you use in the kitchen sink.  However, a sponge to a scenic artist, is also something that you can use to make stone come alive with dimension, to add depth to something that looks flat, or to age a piece of furniture.  The list of things a scenic artist can do with any given tool is long; and depending on what job needs to be done will determine what tools will be use.  Sometimes those tools will vary depending on what paint is being use.  So again, one of the most important things to remember, is to have a good basic understanding of what is used when it comes to scenic painting.

The Educational Theatre Association has put together a great list of what is required for Painting The Scene.  The article goes in depth into the different tools and paint that are used, as well as multiple different techniques that can be done with the brushes that you have at your disposal.  It is an great resource and you should save it for future reference.

So the next time you pick up a paint brush remember that it can be used for something other than just slapping paint onto something.

Amazing Character Development & Storytelling

Often in our business we get to create what the audience views as magical.  This video I believe is an example of that.  The character development and artistic creation come together to draw us into caring about this creature/character.  I really enjoyed this TED talk and I hope you will like it as well.



You may also watch it here: Handspring Puppet Company: The genius puppetry behind War Horse

Transpositions: the Art in the Church Workshop

Transpositions, the blog of the students of University of St. Andrews’ Institute of Theology, Imagination and the Arts, has been hosting a ‘virtual workshop’ that includes posts from around the world on the topic of “Art in the Church.”  It started this past week, but links the the entries already posted are at the main page.  Some amazing ideas about the inclusion of the arts within the context of worship.  Check it out!

Celebrating our Heritage

One of the things we have been working on this summer is the updating our Archive that spans the hallway outside the theatre.

Installing the Archive wall Hangings

Installing the Archive wall Hangings

Not only have we been able to cover all of last seasons show (which I will include in this post) but we have been able to celebrate some of the past shows moving backward in our archive.

Wall of History

Wall of History

Celebrating our heritage as a dept., giving recognition to those who have paved the way for the current students.  Thus in an effort to also reach some of you alumni electronically who may not be able to visit the ‘WALL’ I have digitized some representations of what is on the wall.

Juliet and Her Romeo, Fall 2010

Juliet and Her Romeo, Fall 2010

Our hope is you will come back to visit us some day and also take pride in the fact that pictures from the productions you were in are being celebrated by all who come and see our shows as they pass by this wall of history before entering the theatre.

Bald Soprano, Spring 2011

Bald Soprano, Spring 2011

Stay tuned and over the next days and weeks I will post these pictures, and I hope you will take the opportunity to share a favorite moment or story about each particular production by leaving a comment here below. 🙂

Three Sisters, Spring 2011

Three Sisters, Spring 2011

These pictures will come up in no particular order (sorry), if after a couple of weeks you realize your favorite show has not been represented please comment to that as well.  Our archive is far from complete and we would love to have any and all pictures, programs, or other pieces that we could scan and add to our archive.

Archive Wall (so far)

Archive Wall (so far)

Commencement speaker – Makoto Fujimura

Our university president, Dr. Roger Parrott announced on his blog that the 2011 Spring Commencement speaker for Belhaven University will be renowned artist Makoto Fujimura, head of the International Arts Movement headquartered in New York City.  We are excited to have such a distinguished speaker on campus and look forward to the opportunity to hear his address on April 30.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

Last semester, I was involved in the faculty tenure process here at Belhaven and one of the requirements was to write a paper discussing my worldview in regards to my discipline of theatre & design.  I am happy to say that I was honoured with tenure, and I thought I might share my paper in order to give you some insight into some of the views that shape our department and teaching of this interactive, immersive, & collaborative art form.

I entitled the paper:

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

There are easter egg links hidden within the text to serve as my references and citations to some of the people and I quote & examples I give, so feel free to click on them and follow those through as well.

Why Belhaven Theatre??

So just about every student (or parent with visiting students) has a similar  question…. Why Belhaven theatre?  Why should I (or my child) come here, study here, create here?

Well, we as educators and employees of Belhaven Theatre have our answers and reasons, from the quality of education, our dedication to the artform of theatre and promoting a servant attitude while using the arts to honor our Creator.  But honestly and truthfully, we often come back to one single answer to this question that we believe is the most important, the one that has been confirmed on a regular basis by Belhaven’s president Dr. Parrott: The single best reason to attend Belhaven is that God has called you to be here.

However, we thought that it might be valuable for the prospective students and families to hear from the students currently attending Belhaven as Theatre students about why they chose to be a part of this school and this department….

Question:  How did you decide to come to Belhaven?

  • I felt so encouraged to find a university, as well as a theatre department, that sincerely desires its students to be actively seeking God while also learning to be the best they can be in their chosen art. Belhaven Theatre department has its priorities straight – love God first. I noticed that they didn’t just preach faith either, they walked it out as a family. Those were some of the primary reasons I chose Belhaven theatre.
  • I was attracted by the vision of training people in the arts for the kingdom of God. What sets Belhaven apart from other Christian arts schools is that Belhaven (and especially the Theatre department) sees art as a way to glorify God.
  • Honestly, I have no idea how I ended up at Belhaven. I acted in high school, loved being on stage, but was never really involved in the technical process behind the shows. However, I know that I didn’t have the talent or the heart to act professionally. After my parents laid down the law, having to go to a Christian college, one thing led to another and by God’s providence I ended up at Belhaven.
  • I was really interested in theatre ministry and this was the only place where I felt they had a great theatre program with a Christian worldview. I really also wanted a theatre training that taught me the whole view of theatre. I have been trained in many different areas and have learned what collaboration and servanthood means.
  • Through a series of interesting circumstances, I knew for a fact that this is where I was supposed to be. I actually applied to four different schools as four different majors, so I wasn’t really sure what exactly I wanted to do. But as I learned that Theatre was what I wanted to do, to me, there was no other choice but Belhaven.
  • One of my mentors had come here. She said good things about the department and it seemed the right place to be.
  • I was at my youth group in the spring of my senior year. I was completely unsure of where to go for college. We were having a worship night and during this God spoke to me and said, “Go to Belhaven!” This was later confirmed to me by my youth pastor. I didn’t see any reason to go against God so I went to Belhaven and haven’t regretted a single moment! God is good!
  • I discovered Belhaven through Ballet Magnificat. As a high school sophomore, I believed God was calling me to dance.  However, by my junior year, I realized that while I loved dancing and wanted to work in the performing arts, I did not want to make a career from ballet alone. My mom was the first person to look at Belhaven’s website. While searching, she found the theatre department. I had expressed interest in theatre so she encouraged me to look at the information. I was impressed with what I saw and wanted to visit the campus. October of my junior year I visited the department on Arts Discover Day and after one day on campus I knew I wanted to attend Belhaven.
  • I was thoroughly impressed with the quality and level of professionalism as well as community within the department. I also was drawn to the variety of productions that you would find in a secular setting. Just because we’re a Christian school doesn’t mean that we avoid all kinds of plays.
  • I visited Belhaven for a dance intensive in 8th grade but never dreamed I’d one day be coming here. My interest in the school was revived in 11th grade when my dance teacher brought up the idea of me coming here. By that time, I knew I wanted to study theatre. I was immediately drawn to Belhaven and after I started researching it I knew this was the place God wanted me. I can’t really explain it, but he has given me such a confidence in making the decision to come here and each day I feel blessed that I’m in a strong Christian environment doing what I love. How much better can it get?
  • I came because I liked the comprehensive program and wanted to learn all aspects of theatre. I had no idea what I wanted to DO I just really wanted to learn. When I visited I was impressed by how everyone felt like theatre was so important and could have an impact. I had never met so many people that felt that way!
  • Some close friends of my family asked me what I was planning to do for college. I told them I wanted to study theatre and they immediately told me to check out Belhaven. Honestly, it wasn’t the website that convinced me that God wanted me at Belhaven. There was nothing about the program that appeared starkly unique to other departments. The location was completely foreign to me. I knew no one in Mississippi. The nearest family would be a plane ride away. I think that the reason God wanted me here was because it didn’t make a lot of sense. It was the fact that it didn’t make much sense that I decided it was the right decision.
  • I knew God called me here because He made it clear junior and senior year of high school that I was going to be doing theatre and I knew I didn’t want to go to a secular school. Belhaven has a wonderful department and upon visiting I really felt God say this was the place.
  • I wanted a traditional theatre degree, and after talking to the faculty about what I would learn here, I believed I could receive the education I wanted. Then everything fell into place.
  • I chose Belhaven because all of my family that went to college, came here. My sister in law was in theatre, and therefore I gained a realistic and truthful view of the theatre department. It was my only choice, because it was the only school I knew of that offered a good theatre program from a Christian perspective. I know it’s corny, but that’s the truth.
  • I thought the Christian atmosphere would be good for me and support me as I pursue my profession. I also knew that anything I wanted to do was offered at Belhaven.
  • I first heard about Belhaven’s theatre department from one of the students. I had heard about the program and how wonderful it was. Theatre was something I felt like God was calling me to study, but I didn’t know where or how. A lot of arts schools that I looked at just didn’t fit the bill and they had a very secular worldview. I knew God wanted me to study theatre but also maintain a strong relationship with him. How was I to do that while immersing myself in the theatre world? I had no clue. I knew one thing though, if I was really called to study theatre, God would provide a school that not only effective artistic training but one that also went to great measures to make sure their students were rooted and grounded in their faith. I came to Belhaven last April and I was blown away! The Belhaven Theatre department was exactly what I had been looking for. I knew the moment I sat in on one of the theatre classes that I had found an answer to prayer. There really were no more debates about where I was to go to school, Belhaven was it.
  • I initially heard about Belhaven through Ballet Magnificat when I had seen a show through them. I was finishing up at my other school unsure of where to go or even what to do next. I was interested in dance and movement and was looking for a school that allowed me to learn about that. Belhaven had what seemed to be a strong program in “arts.” Also, it ended up being the school that gave me the most money. I felt led to pursue something involving theatre/movement and that is why I came to Belhaven.
  • When my mom called me to the computer to show me a website for a school in Mississippi I said there was no way I was going to a school out of Texas to go to school, let alone go to Mississippi. When I visited though, the atmosphere immediately struck me as different. Everyone I met – not just in the department – was welcoming and sincere. After just one day on campus I knew this was the school for me. Ultimately it was the people at the school, their Godly, creative, and committed-to-excellence spirits that convinced me that I was supposed to come here. Everyone is committed to producing work with excellence and in the process, uplift one another at the same time.
  • Belhaven was the last place I applied. In fact, I applied the last day applications were accepted. God doesn’t throw bricks at your head that pave the way you’re supposed to follow. The four other universities I was accepted to didn’t offer enough money in scholarships. Belhaven was the school where I had to take out the least amount of loans. I’d always heard that money shouldn’t stop you, but it does. That was God’s way of leading me toward Belhaven. I don’t know why, but I know this was the right decision. Walking in God’s will daily. I know for these four years, for reasons I don’t know or understand, this is the place he wanted me.
  • I know someone who came here before and I came to visit her once. I wanted a Christian Arts School.
  • I heard about Belhaven through a friend whose older sister went here. I decided to come to Belhaven Theatre department because there was a physical theatre aspect to the program. I wanted to see what physical theatre aspect was with a Christian mindset.
  • I heard about Belhaven through directors I worked with in NY who had attended B.U. They had positive things to say about B.U. which led me to look into it. Stuff ending up falling through at other schools in weird ways and every road pointed to Belhaven. Even though I was skeptical, I really felt this was where God was calling me and He has confirmed that in so many ways over my 3 years here.
  • Finances, location and seeing the production of Antigone
  • I picked a school and had pretty much settled on going there. My mom said we should look one more time online to see if there were any other schools that would work. I didn’t want to because I liked the first school. When we looked on Google, Belhaven came up. I started talking to the faculty by email and came to visit. As soon as I stepped foot on campus I felt at home, truly a peace that went beyond understanding. There is no other school that I was supposed to go to.
  • I fully intended not to come to Belhaven. I applied to Belhaven as my “safe school.” It was close to home, also, it made my mom happy. I visited the campus, auditioned, etc and was completely not convinced. I followed through with another school far away from Mississippi, had paid my housing deposit and was researching student loan opportunities online when God completely stopped me in my tracks. This overwhelming sense of dread came over me – I didn’t know why, but I was doing the wrong thing. That night, my mother told me that the Chair of the Belhaven Theatre department had called to see how I was doing and to offer his prayers, I burst into tears. I visited Belhaven again and as I walked down one of the flower lined paths on campus, I had another overwhelming sense – one of peace. It was certainly God’s sovereignty and love for me that got me to Belhaven. Without his guiding hand on my life I would not be the artist I am today.