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Graduate Spotlight

Zackery A. Bennett, MFA Theatre: Sound Design, 2020

Zackery A. Bennett (MFA Sound Design, 2020) is a sound designer graduating from the Purdue Department of Theatre. He joined the graduate program at Purdue after completing his BA in theatre at University of Tennessee.  Zack is best known for his honest and genuine personality, his excellent sound engineering and technical abilities, and meticulous implementations of these on the stage.

At the beginning of Zack’s MFA program, the theaters inside of Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts were scheduled to begin the conversion to an audio-networking system. Using his skills to bridge the worlds of sound engineering and IT, he jumped into the process on his own recognizance to act as a consultant and liaison with Purdue’s ITAP professionals. His abilities to communicate and listen with kindness and humor helped immeasurably in the transition.

Zack’s nurturing of our sound systems in transitioning to a fully digital, networked system has been nothing short of remarkable.”– Faculty mentor Rick Thomas

Zack has completed assistantships both in theatre sound (including the work mentioned above, as well as guiding the installation of sound systems for productions) and in the recording studio (supervising the use of the studio by students). Courses in design and production (particularly in THTR 597: Production & Design Seminar) involve presentation and peer critique, in which his faculty mentor, Rick Thomas, Professor of Sound Design says his communication skills provided an “enhanced student experience” for all in the course.

“Zack is one of the most extraordinary sound designer/engineers with whom I have had the pleasure to work.  Once you work with him, you will quickly realize that there is nobody you’d rather have in the room during a crisis. He has a  genuineness, charm, willingness to go above and beyond, discipline, drive, and caring for others that is unmatched.  - Faculty mentor Rick Thomas

Purdue has kept him busy as a sound designer for four mainstage productions in the Department of Theatre: Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, She Kills Monsters, Next to Normal, and Clybourne Park. Thomas describes his work on the musical Next to Normal as “the best sound reinforcement of a musical at Purdue ever.” He produced a radio drama for “A Theatre in Your Head,” which was aired on WBAA in 2019, and original sound for the Division of Dance. The content of his professional portfolio is diverse, including work for the National Boy Scouts of America, Summit Performance, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Clarence Brown Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, and Syracuse Stage. 

Zack has never grimaced at a challenge – whenever presented with a problem, he always provides multiple solutions, well-documented explanations, and an openness to innovation. We have no doubt he will have wonderful successes – congratulations, Zack! To hear some of his work and to explore Zack’s portfolio, visit