Linda Sarver
DESIGNER shows you a few of my scenographic designs, costume renderings, production photos, a statement of my design philosophy, and my resumé.
AUTHOR takes you to the covers of the books I’ve written and the magazines in which I’ve published articles, and the prompts will lead you to selected pages. At the top of the screen, on the left, just click on the link that says Books or Articles.
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.

            The designers I admire are well educated artists who have a native talent, fine analytic minds, superior communication skills, a facility for collaboration, a love of research, and a broad body of knowledge of the world we live in and the history of how we became what we are.  Most often, these artists have enjoyed rigorous liberal arts education in college and have continued throughout their lives to learn by experience and experiment, by reading and research, by travel, and by engaging their lives in a wider world than the narrow confines of theatre.  These artists bring to their theatrical collaborations keen analysis, rich insights, and a deep context of multi-cultural references.

            While I admire designers with the facility to draw beautiful pictures, I have a higher respect for those who can create an exciting “design idea” before drawing it.  Research, analysis, and creative thinking come before the pencil touches the paper (or the stylus hits the palette).  The ability to communicate a design idea in words and images is vital, but it comes after a worthy idea has been created.

            As an educator, I’m on the side of those like Ming Cho Lee and Pamela Howard who believe a BA in liberal arts is a better preparation for a life in the theatre than a skills-oriented BFA in Theatre.  Specialized, conservatory-style, and career-oriented education and training are best learned and taught in graduate school.  I like undergrads who take courses in world history, art history, music history, philosophy, film history, civics, and sociology; students who can read and write a language in addition to English; students who take as many courses in literature and dramatic literature as can fit in their schedule.  I like undergrads who learn the joys and rewards of research, and who develop their skills in communication through rigorous studies in critical thinking, public speaking, and writing clear, correct, and vigorous English.  In our 21st century, we designers too rarely meet face to face, so we need to write and speak effectively, as well as to communicate our ideas through drawing images, and we need an ever broadening knowledge that permits us to understand our fellow artists’ ideas.

            In his best selling book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes “The 10,000 Hour Rule.”  He argues that the most successful people in fields of endeavor as varied as sports and music and computer science are those who work at developing their skills for 10,000 hours.  Theatrical designers should take that to heart during their graduate training and for the rest of their lives, for the skills of communicating our ideas through rendering and model building are not quickly learned.  Our talent must be innate and our knowledge acquired through continual study, but our skills must be developed and trained in graduate school, and then continually honed throughout our careers. 

            Ours is a demanding and extremely competitive profession, and those who succeed are not dilettantes.   It isn’t only musicians who must learn the truth of the old joke:  You want to know how to get to Carnegie Hall?  “Practice, practice, practice.”