January 02, 2024

By Haley Dittbrenner ’25

Syllabus is an ongoing series of stories that gives readers an inside look at some of Susquehanna’s most interesting classes.

The Class: Stagecraft, THEA-142

The Professor: Erik Viker, theatre

Long before the curtains part, students in Erik Viker’s Stagecraft class are already hard at work behind the scenes. Each year, as SU theatregoers book their seats, this cast of student stagehands creates the scenery that astounds audiences on opening night.

Viker, professor of theatre, described the course as an “immersion-learning” introduction to theatre technology, adding that students “bring scripts to life” as they learn the basics of scenic construction, installation and operations.

Though the course is required for theatre majors, Viker’s crew welcomes students from all departments.

“Non-majors seem to find this different type of learning enjoyable,” Viker said. “Stagecraft class is a valuable part of an overall liberal arts education, which should always help students learn how to think critically, communicate effectively and solve problems.”

Whether one is a major or non-major, performer or technician, Viker — who has been teaching Stagecraft since his arrival at SU 20 years ago — promises the results can be showstopping.

“There is 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,” he said.

Viker’s students give the course a lot of props. One such student is Emily Chambers ’26, a theatre production & design major from Pittsburgh who completed the course. She was hired as a staff carpenter as a result of the skills she demonstrated in class.

“I absolutely loved Stagecraft, and I’m honored to be on staff this semester,” Chambers said. “The ability to bring stories to life through our sets is amazing to see firsthand.”

Learn more about Susquehanna’s theatre majors — theatre performance, theatre production & design and theatre studies.