U-MD Prof. Named To Drama Position

An award-winning set designer and assistant professor at the University of Maryland will take over as a dramatic arts lecturer and technical director of the Loeb Drama Center next fall, according to members of the Committee on Dramatic Arts.

J. Michael Griggs, 34, will teach two courses and oversee the technical aspects of student productions at the Loeb. One course will deal with the history of design and the other will cover scene design of individual plays, Griggs said.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Griggs said his primary responsibility will be to "facilitate the relationship between the American Repertory Theater and the student technical staff." He said he will have no work commitment to the American Repertory Theater (ART), the professional company that occupies the Loeb.

"The job itself is a little different from what I've been doing, which is teaching on the academic side," Griggs said. "I'm looking forward to working with students and their actual production work."

Two weeks ago, Griggs' appointment two and replacement of acting Loeb technical director Alan P. Symonds '69 provoked strong reaction from students who appealed, through petitions and phone calls, to keep Symonds in his post.

Professor of English Robert S. Brustein, the director of the Loeb, said Symonds was replaced after the Standing Committee on Dramatic Arts decided to expand the position he held, adding the role of lecturer on the dramatic arts.


The committee decided not to rehire Symonds because he did not have the teaching qualifications to be a lecturer, Brustein said.

Committee members and Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club members interviewed yesterday said Griggs will be "a great person to have on board" because of his extensive experience in set design, his teaching credentials and his personability.

"I think he'd be a very good person to have on the job," said HRDC President Declan T. Fox '94. "He's very young, laid back and he's willing to work nights, which is good for student productions."

Committee Chair Michael Shinagel said Griggs was "incredibly creative and he also seemed like the kind of person willing to spend all kinds of hours on the job."

He added that Griggs has a reputation for "doing great things with very small budgets" and is equipped with the teaching qualifications the committee was seeking.

Griggs received his bachelor's degree in fine arts from the Good man School of Dramatic Arts in Chicago, and has a master's degree from the University of California at San Diego. He has extensive experience in design, scenic artistry, scene design and lighting design.

Griggs won the 1988-89 Best Scene Design award from the San Diego Theater Critics Circle and was the winner of the South Florida Shakespeare Design Competition.

The committee and HRDC representatives interviewed six of 42 candidates identified during a nationwide search that began in December