Spring 2017

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed stage scenery and was Scenic Artist for David Jarrott Productions’ staging of The Herd, by Rory Kennear, now playing at Trinity Street Theatre. His interior, suburban London setting showcased paintings by two local artists, Shanny Lott of Austin and Associate Director of University Events Xan Koonce. This is Roybal’s second design for David Jarrott Productions. His first design, The Price by Arthur Miller, was awarded the 2016 Best Scene Design Award in Austin and the Greater Austin area by the Central Texas Excellence in Theatre Awards.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel designed the costumes for the Houston-based Main Street Theater production of Bunnicula, based on the young adult novel. This is the second production for Main Street she has designed this season.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel recently designed the costumes for Unity Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank.  This production opened on Feb. 10, 2017 and will continue its run through the beginning of March. Brandy Giordano, Class of 2017, worked as both costume design assistant and costume technician on the production. Unity Theatre is professional theatre company located in historic Brenham, TX.

  • Austin Mueck, Class of 2018, received a Best Scenic Design Award for his design of the musical, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown at the 2017 Texas Educational Theatre Association Conference in Galveston. Associate Professor of Theatre and Resident Scenic Designer Desiderio Roybal mentored and advised Mueck’s poster presentation at the TETA Conference. Mueck designed You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown for the Southwestern University Theatre Department in November 2016 under the mentorship of Roybal and Southwestern Technical Director Justin J. Smith ’04.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal was awarded Best Scenic Design of a Play for 2016 by the Central Texas Excellence in Theatre Award Committee for his work on Arthur Miller’s “The Price.” Austin Mueck, Class of 2018, served as Assistant Scenic Designer for “The Price.” The Scenic Designs under review came from all plays produced by theatres in Austin and the Greater Austin area during 2016.

    David Jarrott Productions, production company for “The Price,” also received awards for Best Production of a Play and Best Leading Actor in a Play. Jarrott Productions has commissioned Roybal to design scenery for Rory Kinnear’s “The Herd” opening April 2017 in Austin. Mueck will again serve as Assistant Scenic Designer and will also serve as Production Assistant to the Producer during the run of the play.

Fall 2016

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel designed the costumes for two professional holiday productions: Fancy Nancy’s Splendiferous Christmas—which opened at Main Street Youth Theatre in Houston, TX in early November, and Little Women—which opened at Unity Theatre in Brenham, TX in early December. Bechtel was assisted on both productions by current Southwestern theatre major Brandy Giordano, class of 2017. In addition, several Southwestern Theatre Costume Laboratory students participated in the construction of the costumes for both productions.

  • Professor of Theatre John Ore served as the adjudicator for five Central Texas middle schools (District 25-2A) as they presented one-act plays and competed for three overall ”best production” trophies and eighteen acting awards on Nov. 16 at the Cultural Arts Center in Temple. Ore was delighted with the energy, commitment and talent evinced by the teachers and young thespians. Scenes from the following plays were presented: The Ransom of Red Chief, The Emperor’s New Clothes, The Curious Savage, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and Louder, I Can’t Hear You.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed stage scenery for the new, Austin-based professional theatre company David Jarrott Productions in October. His design for Arthur Miller’s The Price was nominated for Best Scenic Design of a play by the BroadwayWorld Austin 2016 Awards Committee and also made the short list for the 2016-2017 B. Iden Payne Awards for Best Scenic Design. Austin Mueck, Class of 2018, served as Assistant Scenic Designer. All reviews applauded Roybal’s design. “Desiderio Roybal’s highly detailed set had an accurate scent. It was quite striking. Imagine any furniture-ridden attic or antique shop you’ve ever entered, and recall the nostalgic scent of old wood. That’s what filled the theater, and it laid the foundation for the recurring themes of age, time, and nostalgia that persist throughout The Price. Roybal clearly went the extra mile to ensure every square inch of the stage was utilized to some extent, decorating the intimate space with rugs, chairs, clothes, and walls of furniture that ensnare both the actors and the audience. And it remains the only set I’ve seen that offers a scent as part of the immersion,” Pearson Kashlak of Austin Entertainment Weekly said.

  • Professor of Theatre Paul Gaffney directed a production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit at the Unity Theatre in Brenham, Texas. Employing professional directors, actors and designers, primarily from the Houston area, the Unity Theatre is now in its 30th year of operation. In this production, recent theatre graduate Ally Oliphint ’16 made her professional acting debut in the role of Edith.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed stage scenery for Jarrott Productions, the newest non-profit, professional theatre company in Austin, TX. The Price, by Arthur Miller, is now playing through Oct. 22 at 901 Trinity Street Theatre. The design explored the themes of regret/failure/success/dignity all revealed through interpersonal/intergenerational family dynamics of the early 20th century. Austin Mueck, Class of 2018, was scene design assistant and assisted Roybal with stage properties and technical organization. Roybal’s stage design was a collaboration with freelance stage director Mary (Fritz) Ketchum, freelance lighting designer Rachel Atkinson, St. Edward’s University costume designer Susan Branch Towne, and freelance sound designer Craig Brock.

  • Professor of Theatre Paul Gaffney presented a lecture on Henrik Ibsen’s verse play Peer Gynt for the annual Georgetown Festival of the Arts on June 3, 2016, discussing its place as a source for Edvard Grieg’s beloved “Peer Gynt Suite.” He also performed the role of The Narrator in a festival performance of Lars-Erik Larsson’s lyric suite, “A God Disguised.”

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel presented on a panel entitled “Laboring in the Dark: Invisibility and Insufficiency in Academic Theatre” at the Association of Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) conference held this August in Chicago, Ill.

Spring 2016

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal recently designed scenery and stage properties for Penfold Theatre Company for the play Clybourne Park. The design and the acting were both credited as reasons for the play’s critically-acclaimed success. Southwestern Technical Director Justin Smith ’04 served as Technical Director for the play. His expertise and knowledge of scenic construction, rigging and installation were also important to the play’s achievements.

    Southwestern students were also involved with this production. Austin Mueck ’18 served as scenic design assistant; Noah Kopit ’16, Brock Boudoin ’16, Brenna Nelson ’16, Christian Aderholt ’19, Kolton Noreen ’18 all served as stage carpenters and load-in crew.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed “Clybourne Park” for the professional theatre company, Penfold Theatre. The show is now playing at the Long Center in Austin, TX. This is the second play Roybal has designed for Penfold Theatre in the last year.

  • Master Electrician Patrick Anthony won the 2015–2016 Austin Critics’ Table Award for Lighting Design for his work in “Year of the Rooster,” “Hunger,” “Terminus,” “Medea,” and “Marie Antoinette.”

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel worked with both Unity Theatre in Brenham, Texas and Main Street Theatre in Houston, Texas this Spring. Kerry designed the costumes for a production of Unity Theatre’s The Miss Firecracker Contest in February and designed the costumes for Main Street’s TYA production of Harriet the Spy, which opens on April 12, 2016. Both productions were completed under professional contracts with United Scenic Artists, Local 829.

Fall 2015

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel designed a three-show summer repertory season of Chicago, Ring of Fire and Big Fish with the Alpine Theatre Project, Montana’s premiere regional theatre company in Whitefish, Montana. 

Fall 2014

  • Desiderio Roybal, Associate Professor of Theatre, designed the stage scenery for the play, “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Jersey Lily” at the Austin Playhouse in Austin Texas. The show runs November 21 through December 21, 2014. He is also designing the stage scenery for “She Stoops to Conquer” at the Austin Playhouse in Austin, Texas. The show runs February 13 through March 15, 2015. 

  • Rick Roemer, professor of theatre, has been hired as a guest artist actor for the regional premiere of “Love and Information,” which will be performed at St. Edward’s University Sept. 25-Oct. 5. The play, which was written by Caryl Churchill, just had a smash hit run at the highly acclaimed New York Theatre Workshop. Read more here.

  • Three faculty members from Southwestern attended the 17th annual Mediterranean Studies Congress held May 28-31 at the University of Malaga in Marbella, Spain. Melissa Byrnes, assistant professor of history, presented a paper titled “Ramadan on the Rhone: Muslims and Christians in Secular France.” Sergio Costola, associate professor of theatre, presented a paper titled “London’s Venice and Shylock’s Rialto” and Eric Selbin, professor of political science and University Scholar, presented a paper titled “Mediterranean Mishpocha: The 2010-14 Uprising(s) of the Mediterranean Peoples.”

Spring 2014

  • Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre, designed the costumes for the Unity Theatre’s production of “Almost Maine,” which runs from February 13 - March 2.

  • Sergio Costola, associate professor of theatre, and Michael Saenger, associate professor of English, co-authored an essay titled “Shylock’s Venice and the Grammar of the Modern City,” that was accepted in a forthcoming collection of essays, Shakespeare and the Italian Renaissance: Appropriation, Transformation, Opposition, edited by Michele Marrapodi, to be published by Ashgate in late 2014 or early 2015. Their essay suggests that Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice shows how Jews and other foreigners − such as John Florio, a contemporary of Shakespeare − were alienated in London, as well as in Venice.    

Spring 2013

  • Rick Roemer, professor of theatre, will act, direct and produce three local productions this semester. At Austin Playhouse, he will play the role of Lyman in Other Desert Cities, which will run from Jan. 25-Feb. 24. The award-winning play by Jon Robin Baitz is a powerful drama about a family coming to terms with long-held secrets. In April, he will play The Albert’s in the world premiere of Steven Dietz’s play Mad Beat Hip & Gone at Zach Scott Theatre, and in May he will direct and produce the musical song cycle Bittersuite: Songs of Experience for the Trinity Street Players.

Fall 2012

  • Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre, designed the costumes for the Unity Theatre’s production of The Philadelphia Story,” which ran from Sept. 20-Oct. 7.

Spring 2012

  • Rick Roemer, professor of theatre, is playing the role of Sir Toby Belch in Austin Shakespeare’s production of “Twelfth Night,” which will run from May 3-27. The play is part of the free Shakespeare in the Park series held at Zilker Park. For more information, visit From July 17-Sept. 2, Roemer will perform in the musical Xanadu at Zach Scott Theatre with SU graduate Jill (Crowley) Blackwood.

  • Theatre Professor Rick Roemer and five students have been invited to give a concert on Thursday, Feb. 9, as part of the noon “Brown Bag Luncheon Concert Series” sponsored by the Lakeway Chamber of Commerce. They will be singing songs from the musical theatre repertoire.

Spring 2011

  • Desiderio Roybal, Associate Professor of Theatre, designed scenery, costumes, lighting and make-up for “A Beckett Cabaret” at the 2011, Austin Fringe Festival. One of the plays in the Cabaret, Krapp’s Last Tape, was restaged in Plovdiv, Bulgaria August 4, 2011

  • Theatre Professor Rick Roemer is starring in the Austin Playhouse production of “Stop the World – I Want to Get Off,” which runs April 22-May 22. Music Professor Oliver Worthington is musical director for the play and musical theatre student Hannah Rose has a role in the play, along with 2009 graduate Emily Everidge. For more information, visit the Austin Playhouse website.

  • Kerry Bechtel, associate professor of theatre, designed the costumes for “Souvenir,” which runs through February at the Unity Theatre in Brenham.

  • Theatre Professor Rick Roemer is playing the role of Lady Bracknell in the Austin Playhouse production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.” The production runs through Feb. 13. For reservations, call 512-476-0084 or go here. Southwestern graduates Hans Venable and Jessica Colley Mitchell also are involved with the production, along with SU Technical Director Don Day.

  • Several Southwestern students and faculty members are involved with the Fourthworld Theatre Projects production of “A Samuel Beckett Cabaret,” which will be performed at the Salvage Vanguard Theatre in Austin Jan. 19-30. Tickets for the performance are $14 and are available online at

Fall 2010

  • Theatre professor Rick Roemer’s book, Charles Ludlam and the Ridiculous Theatrical Company was reissued in May 2010 with a soft cover. Originally published in 1998, the book chronicles the life and career of American actor, director and playwright Charles Ludlam, and offers a critical analysis of Ludlam’s 29 plays.

Spring 2010

  • The Theatre Department at Southwestern is sponsoring a New York Theatre trip April 1-5. The trip includes the best available seats to three Broadway musicals, round-trip coach class airfare from Austin to Newark via DFW on American Airlines, airport-hotel transfers by private motor coach, four nights at the Edison Hotel (228 W 47th St.,) and all taxes and bell-staff gratuities at the hotel. The three musicals trip participants will see are Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” starring Angela Lansbury and Catherine Zeta-Jones, “Promises, Promises” starring Sean Hayes of Will & Grace and Tony and Emmy Award winner Kristin Chenoweth, and Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth in the premiere of “The Addams Family.”   For more information, visit their web site
    or call 512-863-1548.