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Erik K. Viker, M.F.A.

Department: Theatre

Associate Professor of Theatre

  • Education
  • MFA, University of Texas at Austin
  • BS, University of Florida
Eric Viker

After serving for almost two decades as a child abuse intervention professional in the rural South, I turned my theatre avocation into my profession by earning my graduate degree and began working full-time as a freelance theatre technician and manager. Now I teach courses in stagecraft, dramatic literature, and theatre operations, and I collaborate with my students and faculty colleagues as the production manager of our Theatre Department. I'm also a union-affiliated stagehand (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 636) and students can join me to work alongside professional stagehands when Broadway tours come through the area.

I'm the editor of the book Inspired Teaching: Essays on Theatre Design and Technology Education published in 2013, which is the only nationwide theatre design and operations education textbook currently in print. I have written about theatre safety, education, and management in such publications as Theatre Design and Technology, the quarterly journal Teaching Theatre, and Stage Directions magazine.

I promote technical theatre as a valuable part of an overall liberal arts education, which should always help students learn how to think critically, communicate effectively, and solve problems in every aspect of life. In the classroom, my work is driven by the question, "What do YOU think?" For example, I do not expect students to recite from memory the year when Henrik Ibsen wrote A Doll House, because this information is easily found in reputable reference books. I do require that they can express their critical opinions about the work, what it says about its originating cultural moment, and what it may illuminate for us in our time and place.

In practical technical theatre education, the education process is driven by the collaborative moments between technicians, managers and other artists as we cooperate to bring these texts to the audience in performance. There is always a moment in every production when the audience and the artists come together and are changed, emerging from the experience somehow greater than they were before. I teach for those moments.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS:  

Book editor, Inspired Teaching: Essays on Theatre Design and Technology Education Published by United States Institute for Theatre Technology, 2013

"I've seen that someplace else:  Avoiding plagiarism in school theatre" in Teaching Theatre, Spring 2010 

Co-authored with Andrew Rich.  "Ben Edwards." Chapter in Late & Great:  American Designers 1960-2010.  Published by United States Institute for Theatre Technology, 2010. 

"Bring the heat:  Designing for summer stock theatre" in Stage Directions, June 2008 

"Twenty plays in ten days:  An adventure in multi-venue festival production management" in Theatre Design and Technology, Summer 2004 

"Counterweight rigging system safety inspections" in Theatre Design and Technology, Summer 2003

SELECTED CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS:    

Panelist. "Managing Technical People." United States Institute for Theatre Technology annual conference, Fort Worth, TX. March 26, 2014

Paper co-author. "Realizing Joseph Priestley's laboratory in Northumberland, Pennsylvania" (The Sites of Chemistry 1600-2000 Project, Maison Française, Oxford, England, July 4, 2011 

Panelist.  "Teaching Technical Theater in a Bachelor of Arts Curriculum."  United States Institute for Theatre Technology annual conference, Kansas City, MO, April 2, 2010 

Panelist. "Plagiarism in the Digital Age" United States Institute for Theatre Technology annual conference, Cincinnati, OH March 20, 2009 

Panelist. "The entitlement dilemma: An in-depth look at the production responsibilities of small programs weighing quantity versus quality" United States Institute for Theatre Technology annual conference, Phoenix, AZ, March 14, 2007 

Panelist and chair. "Realizing the Vision:  Artistic Director/Scenic Designer/Technical Director Relationships In Academic Theatre" Association for Theatre in Higher Education annual conference, Toronto, ON, July 29, 2004

Courses taught:

  • ENGL-100 Writing and Thinking
  • THEA-102 Student-Directed Production
  • THEA-103 Spring Production
  • THEA-142 Stagecraft
  • THEA-200 Dramatic Literature
  • THEA-251 Acting II: Voice and Movement
  • THEA-340 Stage Management & Theatre Operations
  • THEA-452 Seminar: Season Operations
  • THEA-501 Production Lab
  • THEA-502 Dramaturgy
  • THEA-506 Independent Study