Douglas Gilpin, professor of theatre arts at Henderson State University, was inducted into the Arkansas Thespian Society’s Hall of Fame on Feb. 15 at the annual 2020 Arkansas Thespian Festival. Gilpin is a designer and director for Henderson theatre and dance productions. He has taught at the university for 32 years.
“Gilpin, as we like to call him, is one of the greatest set design professors in the state,” Hollie Shepherd, executive board member of Arkansas Thespians, said in a speech announcing the award last month at the Arkansas Thespian Festival in Jonesboro.
“Gilpin has not only poured his heart and soul into the theatre department at HSU, but he designs amazing sets for multiple theatre companies around the country as well,” Shepherd said.
Gilpin’s work includes the scenic design for “Other Desert Cities,” selected for the 2016 USITT Design Expo Exhibition, a biennial juried design exhibition featured in the national journal TD&T. The exhibition was part of the annual national conference of United States Institute of Theatre Technology. His scenic designs were previously selected and featured in 2016, 2014 & 2006 USITT Design Expo catalogues.
He was a 2013 Memphis Ostrander Nominee for his design for “Time Stands Still” at the Circuit Playhouse and a 2007 Ostrander Nominee for “Noises Off” at the University of Memphis. He received a 2007 Individual Artist Fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council. Examples of his design work were published in the 2008 edition of Scene Design & Stage Lighting textbook.
After earning an MFA in design from Texas Tech University in 1988, Gilpin started teaching at Henderson and joined the Arkansas Thespian Society, where he began judging festival events and providing workshops for high school students. He led summer workshops for high school theatre teachers from around the state.
During its festival last month, the society changed the name of the Thespian Technical Theatre Scholarship to the Douglas Gilpin Arkansas Thespian Technical Theatre Scholarship, honoring Gilpin’s contributions to the organization’s students and teachers over the last 32 years.