Who Am I

I am a husband, father, teacher, and designer who has found my calling as a mentor for talented young theatre artists, empowering them to develop their own visions and voices. I grew up in a family of educators, artists, software developers, engineers, mathematicians, writers, and theologians. Because of this, I enjoy discussing art, technology, philosophy, theory, and design. As a designer who ascended through the ranks of production shops, I enjoy and seek out people from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. I am fortunate to have picked a career that has allowed me to travel, meet, and work with people from all over the world. Life is an adventure that is best when embraced and explored.  I particularly enjoy discovering the world with my son, wife, and family. I look forward to future challenges and relish the journey of life which is best summed up with my personal motto “Take joy in the doing, not the having”.

Design Philosophy

I believe in the transformative power of good design and have dedicated my life to creating interesting, exciting, and evocative environments that entice and enhance an audience’s understanding and appreciation of performance. I passionately believe that the melding of imaginative personalities, cultures, ideas, and disciplines produces art that is greater than the sum of its parts and that diversity expands creativity and innovation. I am dedicated to the idea of the citizen artist. Art can have purpose beyond simple aesthetics and, when done well, can be a unifying force to revitalize our identities, communities, and commitments to one another.

Diversity

I have spent my professional career working in urban cities with large and diverse populations and strongly feel the arts are an inclusive discipline and an essential safe place in which people can learn about the world and each other. I want to cultivate an environment in which cultures and ideas which may seem divergent can cross-pollinate, learn, grow, and flourish. This is both our collective strength and challenge as issues of appropriation, representation, and equitable investment in our society and industry demand ongoing conversation and vigilance. For me this extends beyond my academic posting and into my own professional work and research. A shared dedication to this belief is part of what prompted my wife and I to establish our own consulting business, Ruggaber Creatives, Inc. which primarily supports not-for-profit arts and social justice organizations which include equity and access as part of their core mission. Some of our regular clients include The Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Troupe, and Hattiloo Theatre.

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