This week we hear from a behind-the-scenes artist, literally setting the stage for others, creating environments and moods where actors can practice their craft. Jeff Brown is a scenic designer, lighting director and technical director who has worked with the Duluth Playhouse and other theater groups, and expanded his work into designing for museums and other public spaces. Oh, and he loves grilling.
JB: As happens with so many big things in life, I was introduced to the world of theater almost by accident. After some years as an Army paratrooper, I had enrolled at a community college and had one big choice left in order to finish my associate’s degree… A Public Speaking course, or a Stagecraft course? I was not at all interested in Public Speaking, so Stagecraft won by default. I couldn’t have guessed that the course would feel so natural to me and that it would introduce me to people and a field that I had never even considered before.
After being involved backstage in a couple of productions there, I decided to pursue a bachelor’s degree in technical theater, and I transferred to Minnesota State University Moorhead. MSUM had a very active theater department with a strong technical standard, and I benefited greatly from learning scenic design and lighting design along with construction and production techniques.