photo credit: Bethany Stubbs
Maggie Gayle, Lyon’s newest addition to the fine arts department, is not only an art professor, but also the new technical director for the theatre department. She found the position online and accepted it because it allowed her to combine art and theatre in a flexible way. “Those are the most interesting [fields] to me--the opportunity was really cool,” she said during our interview. While measuring the right angle to cut a piece of plywood, she added, “the community was nice too. I felt like I could live here.”
Maggie Gayle grew up in Wichita, Kansas. She received her undergraduate degree at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas, and attended graduate school at Brandeis University in the Boston area. She has worked on multiple off-Broadway shows and has a passion for musical theatre, listing “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “Urinetown” as two of her favorites. Her favorite part of technical theatre is working with props because of the infinite creative possibilities they offer.
Maggie’s role as an art professor is to teach introductory art classes for students who are either interested in the field or simply trying to fulfill their fine arts credit requirement. As a tech director, her job becomes more complicated. She teaches a class in technical theatre in which students learn about using safety procedures in a technical lab, tying knots, cutting, screwing, nailing, and painting wood, understanding color and light theory, creating Broadway and Hollywood flats, and the lingo for all things technical theatre. Ask any student from the class the difference between a clove hitch and a bowline knot, and they’re sure to know. As tech director, Maggie also controls all aspects of the tech department during Dr. Geary’s shows. This means that in addition to teaching technical theatre, she must design the sets for each production and make sure they are constructed and painted. She gives her students the opportunity to help with these sets during class and during the two lab hours they must complete each week. Her first production here at Lyon was “Phaedra,” which featured an ocean painted onto the floor, multi-level platforms, and a hanging rock wall.
Next semester, Maggie is teaching Scenic Painting, and is excited to have a blend of both art students and theatre students in the class. She is also thrilled to be a part of the spring show, “Blithe Spirit,” as it will showcase many special effects that technical theatre will be in charge of.