Healing Waters: Lydia Francis ‘11 Talks Christmas in Christ Chapel and Teaching as an Alum

Posted on December 17th, 2020 by

Lydia Francis's set and lighting design for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2020.

In a year where a lot of traditions have had to adapt, Gustavus Adolphus College’s 2020 Christmas in Christ Chapel worship service, Healer of the Nations, Come, is no exception. However, just like every year, the chapel was filled with a beautiful set designed exclusively for the program. The scenic design this year was created by Lydia Francis ’11. This spring, she is also returning as a visiting assistant professor of theatre and dance.

Lydia Francis ’11 (photo by Nick Theisen ’15)

This was Francis’s fifth year designing for Christmas in Christ Chapel. Her creations this year were inspired by the stories of healing in the Bible.

“Thinking about healing waters and just thinking about the way that Jesus heals in the Bible, using hands, and how we’re not able to touch at all right now really inspired me. So that’s a lot of where the imagery for the hands and touching and healing came from,” she says.

Besides designing the decor, Francis also designed projections this year. “We’ve never been able to do projections in our space before because we’ve always had an audience and projectors cause a lot of noise. So it was really great that this year we were able to use projectors, because we were only filming the service this year,” she says.

This spring, Francis will be teaching classes previously taught by Micah Maatman, who was her professor when she attended Gustavus.

“It’s a really interesting feeling because he had such an effect on me as a student and who I have become as a designer and as a professor,” she says. “I just feel very lucky that I was able to have such a great mentor and I hope that I am getting to be that mentor for other people.”

As a professor, Francis’s main goal is to help students realize their creative potential. “I always hope that at the end of my class every single person has that feeling like, I can create and I’m really proud of what I’m able to create,” she says.

To see Francis’s designs, tune in to Christmas in Christ Chapel 2020: Healer of Nations, Come on Saturday, December 19 at 7:30 p.m. CST. The program will also be archived for future viewing. More information about the Gustavus Department of Theatre and Dance is available online.


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