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Otterbein University Department of Theatre & Dance

Sound Design & Technology

Students interested in learning the art and science related to Sound and Audio production for Theatre are given a wealth of opportunities for classroom and hands-on work.

In The Classroom

Students begin to develop their skills in the introductory "Lighting and Sound Technology" course. In addition to learning the fundamental theory and practice of sound technology, students partake in hands-on learning with professional-level live audio equipment including digital playback software, digital sound processors, wireless microphones, and digital mixing consoles.

For students seeking an understanding of the artistic creation and application of sound and audio, the "Sound Design" course will introduce digital recording and editing workflows in addition to conceptualization and integration of audio design. This course is project-based; allowing students to learn and experiment with the ways that perceived sound can affect our moods, emotions, and reactions.

In Production Work

Students interested in Sound Design work closely with in-house and visiting designers to create soundscapes best suited for each production. Students will begin as a Sound Assistant and learn the common practices of system setup, orchestral and wireless microphone techniques, and emergency troubleshooting.       

Students may then serve as an A2, participating in tuning of the audio system, programming of sound playback systems, and working closely with the sound designer in crafting the balance of microphones that the audience hears.

Students may also serve as A1 or Lead Audio Engineer. The A1 is responsible for ensuring that all aspects of a show, including dialog, music, and effects, are perfectly balanced and intelligible to the audience.

Advanced students may serve as Sound Designer for productions; working collaboratively with the design team to create an aural environment that best suits the director's vision of the show.

In addition to production assignments, many students serve as crew for university-sponsored events that happen within Cowan Hall, including convocations, music concerts, and guest lecturers. These events give the students the opportunity to work with non-theatre staff in a real-world manner, while learning proper professional standards and practices.

Faculty and Staff

Doc Davis, Lighting and Sound Supervisor, holds an MFA in Sound Design from the University of Illinois (the highest degree available in his field.) He has worked as a professional sound designer, recording engineer, mastering engineer, and projections designer, and brings a wealth of real-world experience to share with students. Doc is dedicated to the success and growth of his students through both classroom teaching and practical experience.