Class of 2015
Minor: Studio Art
Hometown: Oak Lawn, Ill.
When the announcer called out the winners of the Theatrical Design Excellence awards, Stefan Roseen was “dumbfounded” to hear his own name among the honorable mentions.
“I was beyond surprised,” he says. “I knew I had put a lot of hard work into that show, but I wasn’t necessarily expecting any outside recognition for my efforts.”
The award, given by the American College Theatre Festival’s Midwest Region, recognized Stefan’s set design for the play Marriage. Stefan was able to design that show as a junior, which speaks to his own talent and to the opportunities available through Valpo’s theatre department.
Stefan came to Valpo with the intention of studying theatre design. He auditioned at 12 schools and chose Valpo because he thought it would provide the best opportunities for him to practice his craft. In fact, he was able to practice multiple aspects of it: designing costumes for Macbeth, designing hair and makeup for Sweeney Todd and An Evening of Short Plays by Beckett, and designing sets for three productions.
“Having the opportunity to actively participate in the many facets of theatre while at Valpo made me a better artist,” said Stefan. “That was the benefit of attending a liberal arts college over a conservatory program and of attending Valpo in particular.”
Stefan also acted in multiple shows (often while designing for the same production) and he directed the final show of the 2014-2015 season, The Terrible Tragedy of Peter Pan.
The experience performing on stage shaped Stefan’s approach to set design. Not only do the sets need to evoke a certain space, time, and mood, they need to be navigable by actors who are paying attention to their performance, not where they are placing their feet. Stefan says that acting has helped him discern what will be a benefit to the actors and what will be an obstacle.
Stefan also appreciates the University for exposing him to opportunities like the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.
“It was encouraging to be affirmed by people outside of our close-knit department,” Stefan says. “You see other schools’ shows and other students’ designs, and you feel that you’re really a part of the wider theatre community.”
Stefan joined that wider community officially upon his graduation in 2015. He intends to pursue theatre work in direction, performance, and design.