Theatre Opening Curtain on High Tech Design Lab

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 24, 2007 — The new Theatre Design Lab at Southeast Missouri State University’ River Campus gives theatre’s “backstage” a whole new meaning.

The 400-square-foot lab on the Seminary Building’s fourth floor east wing allows theatre students and faculty the opportunity to design sets and costumes using the latest design software and technology.

Dr. Philip Nacy, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, says labs of this kind are a great asset to any theatre program, but he is particularly excited about the potential inherent in this exciting new lab.

“Southeast students who have the privilege of using this lab will be on par, and perhaps even above par, with students at some of the finest universities and schools in the country,” Nacy said.

The lab makes cutting-edge technology available with nine state-of-the-art, networked Macintosh computers with large screens. The computers are loaded with the latest software that allow design students to create lighting, scenic and costume designs in digital format, the current standard for the profession. For portions of the design process that must be done manually, the lab also offers nine traditional drafting tables.

This new lab represents what Nacy calls a “night and day difference” from the former design lab in the Grauel Building. Work that previously, by necessity, was done entirely by hand can now be accomplished in a fraction of the time and with much greater precision via computer drafting, Nacy said.

This technologically advanced facility also is expected to serve as the springboard for new courses offering experiential learning opportunities that will further Southeast’s mission to prepare students for the rigors of the real-world job market. State-of-the-art technology in the lab is allowing the Department of Theatre and Dance to offer new courses in CAD, the software essential to the drafting process, and in stage electronics, which address theatre’s sound and lighting aspects, Nacy said.