Inside, it’s a different story.
Charles Nasby, technical production manager for the department of theatre arts, plies his trade amid a jungle of lumber, welding materials and scraps from past stage sets. He builds scenery, handles building maintenance, helps out with lighting, sound and costumes – and mentors students while he does it.
He’s also passionate about reducing his department’s environmental footprint, a trait that recently helped him earn a 2015 UofL Outstanding Performance Award.
Nasby strives to build high-quality, durable stage props and scenery that can be reused for future productions because finding many uses for a single prop cuts down on waste.
“A lot of my uncles were welders,” said the Underwood, Ind., native. “I kind of grew up around seeing people reuse. I was always around men and women creating.”
In his department’s recent production of “Othello,” most of the platforming and many of the small props were reused and repurposed from previous shows.
“I am in awe of Charles Nasby,” said Justin Mog, assistant to the provost for sustainability initiatives. “What most of us see as a problem he sees as an opportunity. He’s simply made sustainability part of what he does here.”
Nasby, who started working at UofL as a scenery technician in 2000, earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts while working full-time.
When he’s not at his UofL job, Nasby does volunteer work for the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival and Assumption High School. He also enjoys playing volleyball at Ohio Valley Volleyball Center.
One day, Nasby hopes to share his ideas on how to make stage management more sustainable with others in his profession.
“I want to move the idea of sustainable theater to the rest of the world,” he said.