Setting the Scene: A Celebration of Robert Hansen Theatre Design on Display Now

The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives has launched a new exhibit, Setting the Scene: A Celebration of Robert Hansen Theatre Design, that tracks the career of Robert C. Hansen, Associate Dean of College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Theatre at UNC Greensboro. The exhibit will be on display in the Hodges Reading Room of Jackson Library through August 31, 2018.

“The exhibit highlights Hansen’s artistic journey as a scene designer and director, while illustrating the growth of an artist,” said Processing Archivist Patrick Dollar.

The Robert C. Hansen Performing Arts Collection includes programs, guidebooks, playbooks, sheet music, correspondence, costume and scenery designs, posters and other memorabilia that documents the history of theatre. Unlike past exhibits, this exhibit does not focus on this theatre ephemera. Instead, the exhibit highlights Hansen's original sketches, technical designs, conceptual collages, prop designs and scene renderings in colored pencil, watercolor and oil pastels that are also included in the collection.

Some of Hansen’s earliest work included in the exhibit are designs created during his senior year at North High School in North St. Paul, MN, for Desire Under the Elms. From his early scene design at North High School, the exhibit moves to Hansen’s time as Assistant Professor of Theatre at Bowling Green State University from 1977–1983, where he designed scenes for The Three Penny Opera and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. After joining UNC Greensboro as the Director of the Theatre division in 1986, Hansen designed the scenes for A Flea in Her Ear. The following year, he designed the scenes for Sweeney Todd. In 1988, he became the Department Head for Broadcasting, Cinema and Theatre, and while in that role created immersive scene designs for Cabaret and Phantom at UNC Greensboro. In 2003, he became the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Hansen has worked in all aspects of theatre, including direction and design. In addition to his work as a professor, scholar and administrator, Hansen has worked extensively as a theatre artist, designing sets, lights and costumes for more than 100 stage productions since 1972. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and English from the University of Minnesota at Morris, a Master of Science in Theatre from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Theatre from the University of Minnesota.