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Graduate Spotlight

Stephen Frausto, MFA Theatre: Technical Direction, 2020

Stephen Frausto (MFA Technical Direction, 2020) graduates next week from the Purdue University Department of Theatre. This talented student joined Purdue after receiving his BFA in theatrical design and technology from University of Montevallo in Alabama. Stephen’s phenomenal sense of responsibility and work ethic will be missed!

During his very first semester at Purdue, Stephen was presented with the challenge of creating snow for a production of The Mousetrap. He created a mechanism in which a snow drum, hung above the stage, was powered by a bicycle, operated offstage – and ever since then, he has been leading the way in technical direction at Purdue.

Stephen has taken the lead on the maintenance and upkeep of the CNC router (a CAD/CAM controlled cutting machine) in the scenery construction studio, as well as training students in its use. As a teaching assistant, he taught two semesters of the THTR 150 series (drafting, construction techniques, and rigging). While many teaching assistants adhere to the template syllabus, Stephen’s passion for teaching became incredibly evident as he made the syllabus his own – introducing new and interesting projects for the students.

"One of the best things a technical director can be is someone who plans ahead and is proactive, and Stephen embodies that completely. He is easily one of the top three graduate students I have had during my time here at Purdue." - Faculty Mentor Rich Dionne

As technical director, Stephen led the scenic construction work on five Purdue mainstage productions: Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, These Shining Lives, She Kills Monsters, By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, and The Beaux’ Stratagem. In 2018, he served as the staff technical director for Dorset Theatre Festival in Vermont, a venue that focuses on presenting contemporary and new plays.  In 2019, Stephen was a technical designer at Adirondack Studios in Argyle, NY, a large-scale entertainment events company. His work was so impeccable, that he was immediately offered a standing post-graduation position – a year in advance of the date (though, as with so many talented artists, the COVID-19 pandemic has created uncertainty in this offer). 

Stephen’s impact on the department goes beyond his labors and teaching. After the departmental spring design and production portfolio review, undergraduates requested extra time at the end to express their gratitude for his exceptional support and mentorship during his time at Purdue. He has truly been a champion for the students and theatre. Take some time to look at his portfolio of work at -- congratulations, Stephen!