Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Philip Johnson

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Philip Johnson

Let There Be Light
Philip Johnson joined the University faculty in fall 1986, before there was a theatre major. But during his 25-year career on campus, the professor of theatre and technical director has seen the Department of Theatre flourish to more than 150 majors today. His experiences at the Island University keep getting better because he and his colleagues play a vital role in shaping the curriculum, working with a growing faculty, and helping locate monies to purchase state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the program. Johnson, who keeps his students abreast of the latest technology and also utilizes traditional techniques such as painting and drawing, has acquired grants for lighting control, software for a lighting visualization lab and other needed items. Johnson says he feels incredibly fortunate to teach the best and brightest students from all across the state and be a part of a school with an outstanding reputation in college theatre. At an early age, Johnson found his calling for technical theatre when he accompanied his mother to a play and he was dazzled by the numerous and elaborate scenery changes. With Johnson’s guidance, many of his students have been recognized for stage management, makeup, lighting and set design at the Kennedy Center American Theatre College Festival in Washington, D.C., — the highest honor a college theatre major can receive. Johnson has embraced his role not only as a professor, but as a mentor to all his students. The reason why? He wants his them to understand that all theatre components relate to one another, and that they can improve their artistry and creativity by gaining experience in each of these areas. Many don’t realize that the process for designing a beautiful and scenic set involves collaboration with directors, student designers and actors to achieve the production goals, and can take as long as a year before it’s fully realized on stage. Johnson, who is a faculty advisor for the Alpha Psi Omega National Honor Society, co-sponsor of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology student chapter and on the Faculty Core Curriculum Committee, stands beside robotic lighting often used in set design to change spotlight color and direction.

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