Notable Faculty & Student Achievements

April 2024

  • Senior Research and Instruction Librarian Katherine Hooker presented a poster at the Texas Library Association’s annual conference on April 17. “Three Ring Library Circus (But in a Good Way): Leaning into the Theme with Creative Instruction for Creative Students” summarized three-part library instruction delivered to students in Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel’s “Design Fundamentals” course. Students learned via an online escape game, a collaborative Padlet, and an InfoGuide, all highly customized around the course’s vibrant circus theme.

March 2024

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel worked as a costume buyer for Amazon Pictures’ new series “Fallout.” Alumnus Jonathan Knipscher ’03 was the Associate Costume Designer on the project. The show premieres on April 11, 2024. The series trailer can be seen here.

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Amy King wrote, directed, and produced a staged reading of her new play Finger Lickin’ Goodat the Jones Theatre in February. The cast included students Jason Bui ’27 as Raymond, Kyle Bussone-Peterson ’24 as Kevin, and Connor Bustos ’26 on stage directions. They were joined by guest Gina Houston in the leading role of Alice and Director of Business Internships and Assistant Professor of Business Andy Ross as Jim, etc., in his acting debut! The reading was also performed at Austin Community College in Highland Park.

February 2024

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal was invited to join the Board of Directors for the Palace Theatre, Georgetown, TX.

November 2023

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed the staging and was a scenic artist of scenery and stage properties for Penfold Theatre’s production of Yasmina Reza’s play, Art. The comedy is playing at the Ground Floor Theatre in Austin, TX. from Nov. 2 through Nov. 18. Glenda Wolfe, SU Costume Shop Manager, designed costumes, and the production was directed by Stephen Pounders, Professor of Theatre at Baylor University. The production explores the meaning of art and the meaning of friendship. When Serge purchases an all-white painting for $200,000.00, his longtime friendship with good friends Marc and Yvonne is tested. Arguments quickly go from theoretical to personal to confrontational, and friendships hang in the balance. Yasmina Reza’s sometimes heartbreaking play asks poignant questions about the meaning of art and friendship. The play has won the Moliere Awards for Best Play, Best Author, Best Production, the Lawrence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, and the Tony Award for Best Play. Penfold website: Production stills: Trailer:

August 2023

  • In June, Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Amy King completed the teacher certification program at The Meisner Institute and is now a Designated Meisner Teacher (DMT). King also led and organized the panel “What Are You? Amplifying Mixed-Asian Voices in Acting Pedagogy,” which she presented at the ATHE (Association of Theatre in Higher Education) 2023 conference. She was able to bring student Bronwyn Fogarty to attend the four-day conference, which featured panels by several theatre scholars from around the world.

  • Associate Professor and Chair of the Theatre Department Kerry Bechtel has accepted an invitation to serve on The United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) Costume Commission Leadership Board and as the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) representative for a three-year term. OISTAT organizes the Prague Quadrennial and World Stage Design Event and is a collective of theatre creatives working worldwide. The USITT Costume Commission develops and oversees national and regional programming and events for professionals, academics, and students involved in the fields of design and technical theatre.

  • On August 3rd, Gabriel Peña presented at the American Theatre in Higher Education conference. He spoke on the panel “Spotlight on New Works LIA (Latinx Indigenous and the Americas) and ATDS (American Theatre and Drama Society). Only two books were selected by LIA to highlight this year, and he presented on behalf of one of them, Marissa Chibás’ work “Mythic Imagination and the Actor: Exercises, Inspiration, and Guidance for the 21 Century Actor”.

July 2023

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed scenery and was Scenic Charge Artist for Magnolia Musical Theatre’s inaugural production of the musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” running July 19 through August 13 at the Galleria Pavillion in Bee Cave, TX. This professional production is directed by SU theatre faculty Emeritus, Rick Roemer, with technical direction by SU theatre scene shop manager, Monroe Oxley. Bella Morrow ’25 and Piper Swisher ’26 collaborated with Roybal as academic interns in scenic fabrication and scenic art. Kyle Bussone-Peterson ’24, Alex Canatta ’24, and Ashlyn Zunker ’25 were scenic carpenters.

  • Professor of Theatre and Dean of the Faculty Sergio Costola, JaimeLynn Hotaling ’23, and Maisie Jones ’23 presented a paper titled “Undergraduate Research and Theatre: Lessons Learned during the Pandemic” at the 2023 ConnectUR Annual Conference, held June 26-28 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

June 2023

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed and painted scenery for Penfold Theatre’s world premiere production of “Box,” running June 23 through July 8 at the Ground Floor Theatre in Austin, TX. The playscript and production is a two-year collaboration with Jarrett King, playwright-in-residence at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL; Ryan Crowder, Producing Artistic Director of Penfold Theatre; and a collaborative production team with direction from Simone Alexander, Producing Artistic Director and Founder of New Manifest Theatre Company, Austin, TX. SU Theatre major Kyle Bussone-Peterson ’24 collaborated with Roybal and the production team by serving as Stage Property Designer and Property Master. Bussone-Peterson completed this faculty/student collaboration as an Academic Internship opportunity with Penfold Theatre. “Box” is a story about Mr. Henry “Box” Brown, an abolitionist born into slavery in 1815 and escaped slavery at 33 by arranging to have himself shipped via a wooden crate from Virginia to an abolitionist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1849. The crate measured 3’1” long x 2’6” high x 2’ wide, equipped with 3 holes for air and a water bladder. The sealed crate was transported by wagon, railroad, steamboat, and ferry over an approximated time of 27 hours. Watch the trailer here.

  • Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theatre Kerry Bechtel completed the costume design for the mid-century classic musical Godspell by John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz. This production runs through June 25, 2023, at Unity Theater, a professional AEA and USA-associated theater company in Brenham, Texas.

April 2023

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal secured a design contract with Magnolia Musical Theatre to design the stage scenery for the musical Beauty and the Beast. The production is being directed by Southwestern University Professor Emeritus Rick Roemer, with Technical Direction by Monroe Oxley, Southwestern University Scene Shop Supervisor. The production will be presented at the Galleria at Bee Caves, TX. July18-August 13.

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal secured a scenic design contract with Penfold Theatre. The project is threefold: 1. Collaboration with Chicago playwright Jarrett King to develop an original playscript about the life and times of Henry “Box” Brown. 2. Specifically, design and paint early 20th Century roll drop scenery with dry pigment paint and ground flake animal glue. 3. Present the design in a modern presentational format at the Ground Floor Theatre, Austin, TX, in June 2023. Henry “Box” Brown was an abolitionist who was born into slavery in 1815 and escaped slavery at the age of 33 by arranging to have himself shipped via a wooden crate from Virginia to an abolitionist in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1849. Henry Brown went on to lecture for the abolitionist movement in New England before moving to England, where he continued to speak out about the evils of slavery and performed his one-man show, Henry Box Brown’s Mirror of Slavery.

March 2023

  • Assistant Professor of Theatre Gabriel Peña presented a workshop at SETC (the Southeastern Theatre Conference) in Lexington, Kentucky, on March 3. His workshop “Sensing Possibilities: Feldenkrais Method and its Potential Applications for Performers” explored how Awareness Through Movement lessons, often utilized as physical therapy, can be resourceful to actors.

Feburary 2023

  • Professor of English Michael Saenger and Associate Professor of Theatre Sergio Costola collaborated on a book titled Shakespeare in Succession: Translation and Time (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2023). The edited collection brings together scholars from eight different countries and five continents.

January 2023

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed A Christmas Carol for Penfold Theatre, which was presented at Old Settlers Hall in Round Rock, Texas, December 8-23. The classic radio cast production involved the design of a 1930s radio broadcast venue where five female actors represented all characters while also hand-operating Foley sound effects. The production ran at Old Settlers Hall December 8-18 before moving to the Driskill Hotel in Austin for a two-night run December 22 and 23.

October 2022

  • Associate Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean of the Faculty Sergio Costola presented a paper titled “Lucrezia Borgia and Theatrical Practice of Women in Elite Society” at a conference on Memory and Performance. Classical Reception in Early Modern Festivals sponsored by the Archive for Performances of Greek and Roman Drama of the University of Oxford, England (Parma, Italy, October 13-14, 2022).

  • Associate Professor of Theatre and Associate Dean of the Faculty Sergio Costola presented a paper titled “The Battle of Polesella (1509). Diplomatic Relations and the Performing Arts” at the 10th Splendid Encounters Conference, Beyond the Truth. Misinformation and Credibility in Early Modern Diplomacy (Florence, Italy, October 12-14, 2022).

September 2022

  • Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Amy Rebecca King organized a panel titled “Mixed-Asian Casting” for the 2022 Association for Theatre in Higher Education Annual Conference, held July 28–31 in Detroit, Michigan. Even though multicultural people make up the fastest-growing demographic in America, they are underrepresented in the media. This panel explored the issues that multicultural actors, specifically mixed-Asian actors, experience in the casting industry. King, along with her colleagues Reiko Aylesworth (Southern Methodist University) and Robert Torigoe (University of Hawaii), gathered interviews with actor Amy Hill, casting director Victor Vazquez, and editor-in-chief of Mixed Asian Media Alex Chester and explored the experiences of mixed-Asian actors, as well as the difficulties of casting according to race in film/TV, theatre, and media. The session was very well attended, and the first-time panelists have been invited back to present at next year’s conference.

June 2022

  • Associate Professor of Theatre and Department Chair Kerry Bechtel designed the costumes for a production of The Sweet Delilah Swim Clubat Unity Theater in Brenham, Texas. Unity Theater is a professional theater located midway between Austin and Houston that brings together professional actors, directors, and designers from both cities. The production runs from June 2–19. 

May 2022

  • Theatre students Dane Parker ’22, Campbell Duffy ’22, Jaime Hotaling ’23, Harrison Jones ’23, Oskar Brian ’22, Jessica Workman ’22, Ash Zunker ’25, and Lilly Percifield ’22 performed G.H.O.S.T. Unit: The Live Event on February 26 and advanced from the Region 6 Festival (where they received three Meritorious Achievement Awards for Innovative Theatre Practices, Outstanding Ensemble, and Support of New Work) to the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. Cast and crew received the Innovative Theatrical Experience Special Achievement Award. G.H.O.S.T. Unit: The Live Eventis part of Associate Professor of Theatre Sergio Costola’s 2021–2022 and 2022–2023 faculty-student projects.

  • Part-time Instructor of Theatre Yesenia Garcia Herrington ’03 was selected to join the second annual tuition-free program “Commercial Theatre Producing 101” sponsored by Theatre Producers of Color, based out of New York City. The competitive 10-week program provides education, training, and mentorship to aspiring BIPOC producers. She also was invited to participate in a “Women in Theatre” panel at Texas State University on April 30.

Feburary 2022

  • Associate Professor of Theatre and Paideia Director Sergio Costola and Jaime Hotaling ’23 presented a paper titled “Theatre Education at the Crossroads: Lessons Learned during the Pandemic” at the 2022 American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Conference on General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment, held February 10–12 in San Diego, California.

December 2021

  • Professor of Theatre Desiderio Roybal designed a 1930s scenic setting of a fictional KPNF radio station for Penfold Theatre in Austin. The audience experiences the arrival of a small company of virtuosic voice actors who perform multiple roles in the radiocast of A Miracle on 34th Streetusing live Foley sound effects. The load-in and installation was assisted by Southwestern student Dusty Cutler ’25. The production runs December 9–19.

  • Associate Professor of Theatre and Paideia Director Sergio Costola collaborated with Olly Crick on a book to be published by Routledge in December 2021. The book, titled The Dramaturgy of Commedia dell’Arte, examines commedia dell’arte as a performative genre and one that should be analyzed through the framework of dramaturgy and dramaturgical practice. 

November 2021

  • Associate Professor of Theatre Kerry Bechtel was invited to review the recently published book Shoe Reels: The History and Philosophy of Footwear in Film for The Journal of Dress History, published by the Association of Dress Historians. The review appeared in the winter 2021 issue.

September 2021

  • Students Dane Parker ’22, Campbell Duffy ’22, Jaime Hotaling ’23, Harrison Jones ’23, Oskar Brian ’22, and Jessica Workman ’22 performed G.H.O.S.T. Unit: The Live Eventon September 29 for the two respondents of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and received three Meritorious Achievements for Innovative Theatre Practices, Outstanding Ensemble, and Support of New Work. Hotaling and Duffy were also nominated for the prestigious Irene Ryan Acting Award. G.H.O.S.T. Unit: The Live Eventwas directed by part-time Assistant Professor of Theatre CB Goodman and is part of Associate Professor of Theatre Sergio Costola’s 2022–2023 faculty-student project.