TWU alumna serves as guest artist for drama production
Terri Tomola, a Texas Woman’s University alumna, teaches a class on lighting design as a guest artist for the university’s drama program. Photo credit: Ronda DuTeil
DENTON— For Terri Tomola, working as a guest artist in the Texas Woman’s University Drama Program is like coming home — even if that home looks much different than before.
Tomola, a 1992 graduate of TWU and a lighting controls specialist for Phillips Lighting in Boston, designed the lighting for the drama program’s production of Third, which runs through Nov. 22.
Though her work with Phillips primarily involves architectural lighting, Tomola’s first love is theater lighting. Through her company, Tomola Theatrical Design, she has designed lights and sets for theaters ranging from community to regional theaters in the Greater New York area.
Her stint as a guest artist came about during a visit to the Denton campus last spring. She attended a service for a family friend in the Little Chapel-in-the-Woods and saw a new building where the Redbud Theater stood during her college days.
“Someone told me that Redbud was now in Hubbard Hall, which I remember as the dining hall,” she said. “I walked into the theater and they were doing a technical rehearsal for Henry V.
“I basically crashed their rehearsal,” she said, smiling.
Talks with drama program staff led to an invitation for Tomola to design the lighting for the current production. She said the experience has been wonderful.
“The students are just so much fun,” she said. “I love their energy.”
It also brings back memories of her time as a student in the program.
“The teachers were good — very demanding,” she said. “You couldn’t say, ‘I can’t do that; I’m a girl.’ Girls built, welded, painted. We did it all.”
Tomola said the lessons she learned as a student are still with her today.
“My process, the steps I go through now in my work — it’s all what I learned at TWU. I’m so incredibly proud to be a graduate of this program.”