Performing and Visual Arts
Sarah Strange is a Senior Lecturer and the Costume Director at UW-Platteville. She teaches courses in Theatre, Design, Stage Makeup, Textiles, and Costume Technology. She has an MFA in Costume Design from UW-Madison and a BS in Theatrical Design and Technology from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. She has designed for many theatre companies across the country including The American Shakespeare Center in Staunton, VA; Endstation Theatre Company in Sweet Briar, VA; Children’s Theatre of Madison in Madison, WI; and Echo Theatre and The Orange Girls Theatre Company in St. Louis, MO. In 2009 she was the costume designer for the world premiere of Katatonika at the Prague International Fringe Festival. Sarah has worked in several prestigious costume studios including Opera Theatre of St. Louis and The Berkshire Theatre Festival building costumes for Broadway costume designer David Murin and Olivera Gajic.
She has designed over 30 productions for the UW-Platteville Theatre program while also serving as the Costume Studio Director: patterning, constructing, sourcing, and modifying every costume that lands on stage along with a small team of student assistants.
Teaching and Learning Philosophy
As a costume designer and an educator, I believe my first responsibility as a teacher is to create a dynamic and inclusive learning environment where students are empowered to think creatively and critically; to learn how to harness their curiosity to seek the resources they need to achieve their learning goals.
Theatre is inherently educational. It can affect profound learning through the power of storytelling. In my design work, I seek to find connections between the characters in the script and the students selected to embody them. My work does not exist as mere clothing; rather, it must be inhabited by an individual specific to this moment in time. Consequently, I am deeply curious about the human condition as it pertains to storytelling on the stage through visual expression. This curiosity is also what keeps me engaged in the scholarship of teaching and learning. The story of each student is unfolding before our very eyes, from the moment they step onto our campus, to the day they graduate. As an educator and as a designer, I see myself as an instigator, someone who exists to propel my students forward into unknown territory in the story of their lives.
There is little in my course content that is not hands-on. Learning in the theatre happens through doing. Kinesthetic learning cements the understanding in their memories because it is linked to a physical experience. Students must have the opportunity to create, to take risks, to get their hands dirty, and to experience the design process in action. My belief is that each of my students can take aspects of my courses and carry them forward into this incredible journey of life and discovery. My goal is to send each of my students into the world with a strengthened mind for critical analysis of form and function, an enhanced set of visual communication skills and a deeper understanding of visual storytelling. By recognizing and embracing the unique strengths and perspectives of each student, I encourage a collaborative and inclusive approach to learning and creative expression. I believe that by embracing and celebrating our differences, we can create transformative and meaningful theatre experiences that resonate with audiences and contribute to a more inclusive and empathetic society.