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Prof. Robert Smith

Robert SmithProfessor Robert Lewis Smith (Scenic and Light Design and Theatre History) has spent more than 45 years teaching and designing for academic theatre programs in New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington.

His academic preparation includes bachelor's degrees from Emerson College and Rutgers University. He earned an M.A. in Drama (design) from University of Washington and an M.F.A. in design for the stage from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He completed doctoral course work in theatre history, dramatic literature, theory and criticism, and art history at University of Missouri--Columbia, where he focused on the19th and 20th century American theatre.

Professor Smith has been an All Category member of the United Scenic Artists (USA) and United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) since the early 1970s. He has served as editorial consultant for several publishers and continues as an Associate Editor for Scenic Design for Theatre Design and Technology (TD&T). He has authored or co-authored over 20 books, book chapters, encyclopedia entries, book reviews, and articles. Working in professional theatre before coming to KU, Professor Smith designed scenery and lights for six years at Syracuse Repertory Theatre and its successor company Syracuse Stage. He has designed for several New York City theatre companies, including AMAS Musical Theatre, The New Dramatists, and Westbeth Theatre. Elsewhere, he designed for Little Rock’s Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Seattle’s A Contemporary Theatre, Theatre Center Philadelphia, Jersey Lyric Opera, New Jersey Ballet, and Missouri’s Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre. He has designed sets, lights, or costumes for over 185 productions in theatre, ballet, opera, commercials, and concerts for both professional and academic shows since earning his first graduate degree in theatre design.

Professor Smith has designed sets and/or lights for 27 KU Mainstage productions. Favorite productions include Hay Fever, Lucky Stiff, Crimes of the Heart, Italian American Reconciliation, The Servant of Two Masters, Moon Over Buffalo, Dancing at Lughnasa, The Seagull, and Picnic.

Professor Smith lives with his wife on a Montgomery county farm where they raise purebred Polypay sheep and other agricultural products.