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Teaching Philosophy

Matthew M. Rightmire

Master of Fine Arts - Stage Design & Production

"The performances our groups devised were a creative way to become educated on the art of theatre."  ~Theatre Appreciation student reflection, 2018

No two students learn alike, and no two designers create alike. It is that diversity and challenge that inspires me to foster an environment that meets the needs of each artist on his or her journey to master our craft. Practicing modern production methods and utilizing traditional tools of design and craftsmanship is paramount in mentoring well-rounded artists who will be entering the industry not only as designers and technicians, but professionals responsible for shaping the future of our art.


Master of Fine Arts ---- Stage Design - Technical Production

University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film, 2014

Bachelor of Arts, Comprehensive* ---- Theatre Arts

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2002


Professor of Technical Direction

Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN, 2019 - present

Associate Lecturer and Scenic Studio Supervisor

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, 2017-2019

Technical Director; Scenic, Lighting, and Sound Designer; Facility Manager

Eau Claire Children's Theatre, 2014-2017

Technical Director

Alpine Theatre Project, Repertory Season, 2014 

Assistant Technical Director

Opera Omaha, Agrippina, February 2014

Graduate Assistant/Teaching Assistant/Lecturer

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2011-2014

Scenic Studio Supervisor

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 2009-2011

Operations Staff

Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild, 2008-2011


Born and raised in Wisconsin, Matthew attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire as a Blugold Fellow where he earned a comprehensive bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts. His work includes both production and front-of-house operations at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center, the Heyde Center for the Arts in Chippewa Falls, and the Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild in Eau Claire.


In 2009, he began working as the Scenic Studio Supervisor for the Department of Music & Theatre Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

In 2011, Matthew left Wisconsin to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His time as a graduate student was distinguished as a Hixson-Lied Fellow in the Johnny Carson School of Theatre & Film. His contributions to the theatre program were honored by receiving the Porter Award for Creativity in Theatre and being selected to join the school’s Order of the Purple Mask.

Since receiving his MFA in Design & Technical Production, Matthew has been the Technical Director for the Alpine Theatre Project’s 2014 season in Whitefish, Montana, the Technical Director and Scenic/Lighting/Sound Designer for the Eau Claire Children’s Theatre, and a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.


He is currently a professor at Gustavus Adolphus College where he teaches stagecraft, computer-aided drafting, and other technical theatre courses while overseeing the construction of the scenic elements for all of the department's productions in both theatre and dance.

Matthew spends his free time enjoying juggling, magic, biking, camping, and spending time with friends and family.

*The distinction of a comprehensive degree indicates that extra course credits were required to complete the degree including eighteen additional credits related to the performing arts or theatre. Studies included all technical theatre courses, performance and directing courses, and electives including Representative Shakespeare, Harpsichord, American Dialects, Band, and Choir.

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