Baxter Carlisle Chambers, MFA Theatre: Lighting Design, 2021
Baxter Carlisle Chambers (MFA Lighting Design, 2021) is a lighting designer graduating from the Purdue Department of Theatre. He received his BA in peace and conflict studies with a minor in theatre from Bowling Green State University and working in lighting at the Marathon Center for the Performing Arts in Findlay, OH before beginning his graduate school journey. Known for his cheery and thoughtful demeanor, Baxter has played a vital role during his time at Purdue.
Baxter has completed assistantships as both a much-revered instructor of Introduction to Lighting, further developing in-class curriculum, and as a lighting lab supervisor. In conjunction with a fellow lighting graduate student, he developed safety protocols for the three-phase power distribution in theatre spaces at Purdue, as well as general best practices for electrics in the theatre including proper metering, physical distribution of cables, and required personal protective equipment for given tasks. These guidelines were codified into study materials and a written test and submitted to the production manager for implementation.
At Purdue, Baxter has been busy, serving as lighting designer for the main stage productions of Mother Courage and Her Children, In the Blood, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, and The Two Gentlemen of Verona; as well as assistant lighting designer for By the Way, Meet Vera Stark. He was the production electrician for the main stage productions Nell Gwynn, Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches, These Shining Lives, and Next to Normal and the Purdue Contemporary Dance Company’s Spring- and Winterworks.
It is hard not to note Baxter’s brilliance and engagement – he was the recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Teaching Award in the Department of Theatre and a Purdue University COVID-19 Impact Scholarship, and was awarded a lighting design fellowship for the Chautauqua Theatre Company in 2019. A Phi Beta Kappa member, he further devoted himself to the department and university as the 2020-21 graduate student department representative, a member of the 2020-21 Theatre Season Selection Committee, and a member of the Purdue University College of Liberal Arts Administrative Review Committee.
Baxter was featured in the July 2020 issue of American Theatre in “Productions on ‘HOLD,’ a Web Home Designed to Look Back and Forward” by Allison Considine.
“I truly struck gold when I interviewed Baxter in Chicago three years ago,” says his primary mentor, Professor Michael McNamara. “His combination of intellect, good humor, and determination has been invaluable to the program and he will be greatly missed.”
As he heads to Northwest Ohio, we wish him the best of success. Explore his portfolio at www.baxterchambers.com.