Scenic and Lighting Designer and Associate Professor of Theatre, Scenic and Lighting Design William “Bill” Pierson, M.F.A., has announced his retirement from Shenandoah Conservatory at the end of the 2022/23 academic year. Pierson began working at Shenandoah in 1994 and will retire after 29 years of dedicated service to its artistic and educational community.
“For so many of us, one of the joys of being an audience member at a main stage production — whether a play, musical, opera or the holiday gala — has been to see what Bill Pierson has created,” said Shenandoah Conservatory Dean and Professor of Music Michael Stepniak, Ed.D. “His sets are always creative, and somehow both dramatic and sensitive. Beyond that, he’s a teacher who cares greatly for his students. It’s not surprising that he stays in close touch with many of the program’s alumni, and can speak to the successful careers of many of his past students. He cares for their success within and beyond the classroom and stage. Bill has made a pronounced difference not only on the Theatre Division and Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre, but on the conservatory and community. He will be missed!”
In addition to his work with Shenandoah University’s theatre program, summer 2023 will mark his 30th season as a resident designer for Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre (SSMT). Pierson has also worked for a number of professional theatres, including Olney Theatre in Olney, Maryland; Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio; Maryland Arts Festival in Towson, Maryland; the Illinois Shakespeare Festival in Normal, Illinois; and the Lexington Children’s Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky.
“I would like to formally thank all of my students and colleagues for sharing 29 years of inspirational creativity,” said Pierson.
Pierson is an award-winning designer with over 300 designs to his credit. He was a recipient of the Cleveland Critics Circle Award (CCCA) for outstanding set design for “Passion of Dracula” and a CCCA nominee for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” In addition, he received the American College Theatre Festival Award for his set designs of “White Rose of Munich” and “Translations.” He was also the recipient of the Columbus Ohio Theatre Roundtable Award for Excellence in Scenic Design for “Hand to God.” Most recently he was awarded the 2021 Broadway World Central Virginia Award for Outstanding Set Design for “Grease.”
Pierson received his Master of Fine Arts in design from Illinois State University and Bachelor of Arts from Eastern Illinois University.