Report on OISTAT Sound Design Group Webinar # 1

– Music as a Foundation of Theatre Origin

Time: January 15th, 2010.

Presenter: Richard K. Thomas

On January 15, 2010, Steven Brown, Head of the OISTAT Sound Design Group, invited sound designer and composer Mr. Richard K. Thomas to present a webinar on his research into the evolutionary origins of music and language, and various theories regarding the origins of theatre. In the presentation Mr. Thomas explored the fundamental role that music played in Greek theatre, as well as the origins that serve as the aesthetic foundation which established the primal role that music plays in all theatre activities.

Richard K. Thomas 

Rick’s recent projects include a biography about Broadway sound pioneer Abe Jacob (The Designs of Abe Jacob), and leading a team of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty in the creation of Labcoats on Clouds that premiered at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial in June of 2007. Rick also organized and led a group of artists from Purdue, Germany, Paris, and San Francisco in the performance art piece, Laptop Connections at the Marysakovo Railway Station during the “PQ.” Having composed music and soundscores for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival and ESPN among many others, Rick’s most recent theatre compositions include An Unkindness of Ravens at Roosevelt University in Chicago in 2007 and Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at Purdue in 2006. Rick won the Murphy Award for outstanding teaching at Purdue University in 2007 and the USITT Herbert D. Greggs Award for outstanding journal article in 2002. Research interests include playmaking, music composition and sound design for live theatre, and sound system design and engineering.