Elizabeth Thompson, Trinity Communications
Theater Studies welcomes two new lecturing fellows who will enhance the department’s offerings in design and technical theater.
Hannah Haverkamp is a costume designer and illustrator who is interested in the construction of identity through clothing, music and folklore. In addition to teaching, she will manage the Costume Shop, designing and constructing costumes for Theater Studies productions.
Bill Webb is a lighting designer with over 200 productions to his credit. In addition to teaching, Bill will design lighting and serve as technical director for Theater Studies productions.
What excites you most about Theater Studies at Duke?
Hannah: How it's not restricted to majors! I love that people come to Duke Theater Studies from different disciplines, bringing their perspectives and knowledge from all of those to make theater.
Bill: I had the privilege of working as the Lighting Designer for Theater Studies’ Mainstage production of Rent last spring. I was thrilled to be part of the Rent creative team and loved working with the Duke faculty, staff and students. Students at Duke are highly motivated and intelligent, with excellent problem-solving skills. They are the type of students I crave to work with and mentor. I'm most excited to develop a teaching/learning relationship with Duke students and help grow the production program in Theater Studies.
What’s your biggest upcoming project? What classes are you teaching in 2023-24?
Hannah: My focus this year is building on the groundwork already in place, navigating ways that costume design and production can grow within the department. To start that process I'm teaching Costume Design this semester, and in the spring, I'll teach Costume Construction and design Sarah Ruhl's Eurydice.
Bill: I have many big projects in 2023-2024. I just finished the lighting design for Bright Star at Mill Mountain Theater in Roanoke, VA, and will design again for them in the spring of 2024. I'll be working with the national tours of Wicked, Aladdin and others, as well as being the technical director for Twelfth Night and Eurydice at Duke. I’m teaching World Building for the Theater this fall and Lighting Design in Spring 2024
What has been your proudest professional accomplishment?
Hannah: This spring I workshopped a few scenes of Mykola Leontovych's Na Rusalchyn Velykden with Lyric@Illinois, with the collaboration and advisement of Dr. Julie Gunn. The piece is almost never staged outside of Ukraine, and the opportunity to honor a creative who was killed for his beliefs before he could finish his work was very humbling and very special.
Bill: My proudest professional accomplishment has been to build a long, diverse and successful career as a professional creative artist and technician. I've traveled throughout the United States and worked on many events involving celebrities, sports personalities and prominent political figures. I've made a lifetime of friends and developed a strong professional network along this journey. Performing arts is a challenging profession requiring long hours in dark places. To succeed and prosper over a lifetime in this industry is what I am most proud of.
What is one of your favorites plays and why?
Hannah: Anything by Martin McDonagh. I love pieces that are simultaneously devastating and hilarious. Why live in the middle of the bell curve!
Bill: I appreciate works that are boldly creative, explore challenging topics or redefine the industry. Three shows that have changed the way I view the power of theater are Next to Normal, Hamilton and Warhorse.
What advice would you give to Theater Studies students?
Hannah: Remember that one of the most essential criteria for deeming an animal intelligent is the ability to play. It's what that big prefrontal cortex is for.
Bill: Kindness goes a long way. Work hard, work smart, don't think you are more important than any other member of the team, have empathy for colleagues and be someone who people want to work with. Your network is everything. You build your network through these simple rules.