If you’ve been to a performance at Gustavus Adolphus College’s Anderson Theatre, you’ve most likely seen the work of Terena Wilkens, without seeing her face on stage. Wilkens is resident lighting and sound designer, technical director, and adjunct instructor for the College’s Department of Theatre and Dance.
Wilkens was recently honored for her work in the category of lighting on the Gustavus performance of On Ego (October 2011), with a full-page spread in the magazine Theatre Design & Technology (td&t), as part of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) Design Expo 2012.
Design Expo 2012, the biennial juried exhibition of scenic, costume, and lighting designs created by USITT members, was held March 28-31 during the USITT Conference & Stage Expo in Long Beach, Calif. With 121 individual entries of designers’ work, Design Expo 2012 was one of the largest exhibitions in the event’s history.
Wilkens, who joined the Gustavus faculty in 1993, explained how she came up with the lighting concepts for On Ego.
“I was intrigued by the brightly colored images of the brain in Carl Schoonover’s Portraits of the Mind: Visualizing the Brain from Antiquity to the 21st Century,” Wilkens said. “Minute parts like neurons, dendrites, and axons are depicted in bold fluorescent hues. These images helped give me ideas about how to use color to make each location in the unit set for On Ego look distinct.”
Wilkens holds a bachelor’s degree in theatre design from St. Cloud State University and master’s of fine arts in theatre design from West Virginia University. She currently teaches Craft and Design: Lights and Sound, Computer Aided Drafting and Design, and Advanced Computer Aided Drafting and Design.