DESIGNER shows you a few of my scenographic designs, costume renderings, production photos, a statement of my design philosophy, and my resumé.
EDUCATOR opens to a narrative about my career, and you’ll find my curriculum vita as well as a short statement about my approach to teaching.
DRAMATURG tells you the theatres and the nearly 70 plays for which I’ve been dramaturg.
CONTACT will help you locate me — and I hope you will.
I grew up on a farm, but I’ve been interested in art since childhood. The Sarver family has lived in Rockford, Illinois, just west of Chicago, since 1847, though my father’s family came to America in the 17th century. Recently, I was delighted to learn that an ancestor was in the Colonial Army and that I’m a Daughter of the American Revolution.
As a tiny tot, before knowing how to sew, I took fabric scraps, glued them together to design and make dresses for my dolls. In my school years, visits to Chicago’s Art Institute and watching Kenneth Clark’s film series Civilization increased my love of art, and I went to college thinking I’d become a fine artist, a painter. Quickly I realized it’s hard to make a living as a painter, and I fell in love with the communal work of theatre and with its intellectual challenges. So while I keep my paint brushes at the ready, I use them to render costumes and scenery instead of portraits and landscapes.
One of the major turning points in my life and career came when I lived in London and participated in The European Scenography Centre’s course headed by Pamela Howard, OBE. I am now a devotee of the concept of scenography, and my own design work has expanded in that direction.
When I’m not designing or doing research for the books I write about theatre, my joys include cooking, travel, and Egyptology. I’m still trying to master the perfect crème brulée, I’m eager to notch more nations on my traveler’s belt to add to the twenty-nine I’ve visited thus far in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, and my fascination with Egyptology began when I lived for two years in Cairo. There’s nothing like sitting in pitch black darkness in the middle of a pyramid to help you learn who you are.
My favorite motto:
It’s not theatre if we’re not having fun, and if we’re not having fun, then we’re doing something wrong.