Cultivating Creativity with Flexible Staging

The Theatre School at DePaul University made its dignified debut in the fall of 2013. Boasting the Fullerton Stage, a 250-seat thrust theatre, as well as the Sondra & Denis Healy Theatre, a 100-seat flexible black box theatre; the school was fully ready to support and showcase the creative and academic work of its community.

Staging Concepts was honored to be a part of this unique project. As a result of the collaboration between Staging Concepts, Schuler Shook and the Theatre School at DePaul University, Staging Concepts was able to customize a state-of-the-art stage trap for the theatre’s Fullerton Stage. The stage trap encompassed adjustable beams and a column support structure that allowed for varying elevations of platforms and configurations.

Unique to other university theatres, the Fullerton Stage’s flexibility allows for students designers to have more options for creating levels within the scenic elements on stage.

“The combination of automated line sets, catwalk systems and the fully trapped stage deck is an amazing new tool for students and staff to work with,” said Chris Hofmann, Director of Production for the Theatre School at DePaul University. “Our staff looked for equipment that would best coordinate with our already existing inventory and provide the greatest amount of flexibility.”

Depaul- Stage Trap

Along with the custom designed system for the Fullerton Stage, Staging Concepts also designed a flexible seating riser and mezzanine system that could be re-arranged into 8 different seating configurations for the Sondra & Denis Healy Black Box Theatre.

DePaul-University--Black Box Theatre

“We plan to produce every type of performance imaginable in the space, given the flexibility of the Staging Concepts equipment and the power of our students’ imaginations,” Hofmann said. “We can play with different theatre shapes and sizes. And it gives both our students and our audiences varying experiences.”

The Theatre School at DePaul University reconfigures the layout for every show in the Healy Black Box Theatre. About twice a month, it plans on producing everything from comedies, dramas, musicals and any new work.

Everything in the new building was designed to emphasize openness and transparency.

“We aspired to create an environment that would provide many specific learning opportunities for our students, while inviting others to come into the building to experience the creative work of our students,” Hofmann said. “We wanted our audiences and even those just passing by the building to feel the creative energy and get a glimpse into some of the behind the scenes work that goes on in our day-to-day activities.”

Whether it’s a musical, play or anything in between, Staging Concepts was able to provide equipment that was portable and flexible enough for the designers to create unique environments for every production. The theatre is able to provide a one-of-a-kind audience experience each time anyone steps foot in one of the performance theatres at DePaul University.

For more information on the creative showcases at the Theatre School of DePaul University, visit