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Chris Russo

Chris Russo, Associate Professor of Practice - Technical Direction

Chris Russo, Associate Professor of Practice - Technical Direction
Chris Russo, Associate Professor of Practice - Technical Direction

School of Performing Arts 
303 Henderson Hall (0141)
195 Alumni Mall
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-0799 |

Chris Russo is an associate professor of practice.  His past experience include positions as Scene Shop Manager at Virginia Tech, Head Projections Technician at Yale Repertory Theatre, and several years of summer stock and touring experience in technical theatre. For more information visit

  • Scenic Arts
  • Production/Research Areas: Technical Direction
  • Teaching Areas: Scenic Technology, Scene Shop
  • Head of MFA Program in Technical Direction
  • MFA, Yale School of Drama
  • BFA, Pennsylvania State University
  • Chair of the Theatre & Cinema Curriculum Committee
  • USITT Member 
  • USITT Conference Commission Committee Member
  • ETCP Certified Theatre Rigger 
  • Stagecraft
  • Scene Shop Technologies
  • Drafting for the Stage
  • Theatre Production Process and Management 
  • Structural Design for the Stage
  • Mechanical Design for the Stage
  • Automation Design for the Stage
  • Technical Design Concepts
  • Projection Engineering
  • Theatre Rigging

What gives you the most satisfaction as a teacher?

I am a consummate problem solver when it comes to scenic challenges. Working with students faced with these challenges gives me a chance to share my knowledge and experience.  A novice's approach to problem solving can seem hopeless at times, but the chances that a problem has been crossed before are good.  Therefore, by sharing past experiences or resources with students gives them the power to apply methods and ways of doing things they never would have thought of themselves. 

Our world, as it is in technical theatre, is rooted by evolving techniques and practices.  One generation builds on the previous one, ever creating new technologies and approaches.  Observing students learning, creating, and merging new knowledge into their own methodologies is very satisfying as a teacher.

Something Unexpected:

Before going into graduate school, I was on tour for two and a half years with Cirque du Soleil’s Alegria in Japan, multiple countries in Europe, and Brazil.  My job was to manage the carpentry department, maintain the set, orchestrate city transfers, and run shows.  It was an interesting experience to run away with the circus and see the world!  Everyone should travel, it will change the way you perceive humanity.

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