Professional theatre is not the life for Campbell’s Joshua Reaves

July 9, 2010 | Leave a Comment

Professional theatre is not the life for Campbell’s Joshua Reaves

Buies Creek, N.C.—“Twelfth Night,” “Light in the Piazza,” “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Into the Woods”—Joshua Reaves’ resume reads like a Broadway theatre marquee. Reaves, a lighting and scenic designer for Campbell University’s Theatre Arts Department, has plied his skills all over the country, including the famous Alley Theater in Houston, Texas. But professional theatre isn’t the life for him.

“I have no ambition to work on Broadway because it’s not a career, it’s a life choice,” said Reaves. “A scenic and light designer doesn’t just work on Broadway, you are traveling constantly. The work is very transitory, very contractual. It’s exciting, but not the lifestyle that I want.”

Reaves’ professional theatre assignments have taken him to Pittsburgh, Pa., where he worked on “She has All the Answers; Cincinnati, Ohio’s Cincinnati Opera where he helped design the lighting for“La Traviata”; Boston, Mass. for Disney’s “Cinderella”and many other locations.And although he loves the excitement of flying into a different city for a production, Reaves would rather stay put teaching students about theatre and the richness it brings to one’s life.

“The students make teaching theatre worth it,” he said. “The shows are all built by the students, not just theatre majors, but students taking the Introduction to Theatre class as a Fine Arts requirement. They get a taste of what I like about theatre.”

Lighting and scenic design also teachpractical skills, Reaves added, “Skills they will need in life. Building a set can show them they can fix that closet door. Working on costumes, teaches them to sew a hem, fix a button.”

Unfortunately, theatre is a fragile art form, he laments.

“But our students help to carry it on. Our theatre program is not only geared for majors, but offers other students exposure to the arts, and I enjoy being a part of that,” Reaves said.

A North Carolina native, Reaves graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design. He also earned a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre lighting design from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Prior to coming to Campbell in 2009, Reaves served as an adjunct instructor at the University of Cincinnati, both graduate and undergraduate levels. During his spare time, Reaves continues to work in professional productions at Raleigh Little Theater, Triad Stage, High Point Ballet, the Opera Company of North Carolina, the Burning Coal Theatre and Cary’s Booth Amphitheatre, among others. His wife Athena also teaches theatre at Middle Creek High School in Apex.  They reside in Willow Springs, N.C.

Photo Copy: Campbell Technical Director and adjunct theatre professor Joshua Reaves in his office above Ellis Theatre with his preliminary set design for the fall production of “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” right, and the set design for a modern dance piece.

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