Kevin Seime Is Scholastica’s Tech Theatre Wizard


Kevin Seime is The College of St. Scholastica’s Theatre Scenic, Lighting, and Sound Designer. Photo submitted.

For over thirty years, Kevin Seime has been The College of St. Scholastica’s Theatre Scenic, Lighting, and Sound Designer, pulling out all the bells and whistles from his technical theater bag of tricks season after season.

Tucked away in the theater behind Tower Hall at St. Scholastica (CSS), Seime is used to working behind the scenes with small crews of students, limited budgets, and the special requirements of a black box theater space.

“Our theater is a ‘found’ space that once was a gymnasium where the nuns and students played basketball,” said Seime. “Now we reconfigure both the theatrical space and the audience space for each show.”

Over the decades, Seime has helped every director with whom he has worked see their concepts come to life, giving their casts colorful theatrical worlds in which they could “play.”

Duluth Playhouse presents “Vanya Sonya Masha and Spike”, Director Julie Ahasay, Set Design by Kevin Seime. Photo submitted.

Finding Theatre

“I was a jock in high school and never planned to have anything to do with theater. I remember seeing a musical at my school and thinking it was really dumb,” he said with a chuckle.

After starting his college years at the University of Wisconsin in LaCrosse, he saw a production of “The Crucible” and took an Intro to Theater class, and was hooked.

He started working as a stage manager and then designing for shows.”I found it was something I really liked. I was good at drawing and that led to scene design. This was back before there were computer programs and everything had to be done by hand.”

Duluth Playhouse presents “Other Desert Cities”, Director Julie Ahasay, Set Design by Kevin Seime. Photo submitted.

He transferred to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis where he earned his   Bachelor of Arts in Theatre (Stage Management and Set Design). For his graduate work, he went to the University of Idaho, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts (Theatre Set Design).

Wanting to move back to Minnesota for his family, he applied for a theatre position at CSS. “I have stayed for thirty years because I love the small department and collaborating with each other. Here I have had room to experiment as a set designer and to integrate sound and lighting with my designs.”

In addition to being St. Scholastica’s “one-man technical band,” he has also worked his magic with several other area arts organizations over the years.

Seime has freelanced with the Duluth Playhouse designing sets for a number of shows, including “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Grease,” “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum,” “Cats,” “My Fair Lady,” “The 39 Steps,” “Amadeus,” “Other Desert Cities,” and “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.“

The set of "Cats" by Duluth Playhouse was designed by Kevin Seime.

He guest designed “The Woman in Black” for Renegade Theater and worked with UMD’s Minnesota’s Repertory Theater for three years. He also did a few set designs for Lake Superior College and helped them to build a permanent thrust stage. Across the bridge, Seime worked with Superior High School on sets for their summer theater program.

Early on in his theatrical journey, he honed his technical theater skills with the Texas Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Shakespeare Festival, and the Idaho Repertory Theater.

He has taught a variety of classes at CSS including Stagecraft, Intro to Design, and practicums.”I really am teaching with every show we do, working with student crews, many who don’t come in with many skills,” he said.

Seime added “I have really enjoyed working with students who have never done theater or who have done little technical theater, to feel a sense of accomplishment, and then can say with some pride, ‘I built that’ or ‘I painted that.’”

“Theater is a place where you are allowed to make mistakes and a place to learn from those mistakes,” he said. “I am proud that the students I work with can also see and understand how much work it is. I love to watch them grow. It is hard, though, to see them move on, most of them in their senior year when they are too busy to do theatre.”

Kevin said, “I know that for myself, theater has opened my eyes to the human experience and has taught me compassion for other people.”

He noted one of his favorite productions at CSS was “Journey’s End,” set in WWI in a bunker. For this show , he had to rig the roof to collapse at the end. He has loved working on other shows with “tricks” and special effects to rig such as in “Dracula,” “Little Shop of Horrors" and “Blithe Spirit.”

CSS Theatre presents “Blithe Spirit”, Director Merry Vaughan, Set and Sound by Kevin Seime. Photo submitted.

“I was also very proud of our ‘Diary Anne Frank’ set, recreating the attic and having the audience feel that they were living in that attic too,” he said.

Seime enjoys getting out of the dark of the theatre and going outdoors to bike and hike. “I get so wrapped up in my job, and so it is good to get outside. This is an amazing area to live, another big reason I have stayed,” he noted.

“Rabbit Hole”

St, Scholastica’s current production is “Rabbit Hole,” written by David Lindsay-Abaire and winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play tells the story of Becca and Howie Corbett, a couple trapped in grief, loss, and darkness after the accidental death of their young son.

CSS Theatre presents “Rabbit Hole”, Director Sharon Dixon Obst, Set, Lights, and Sound Design by Kevin Seime. Photo submitted.

The show’s director, Sharon Dixon Obst, said, “I chose ‘Rabbit Hole’ because I wanted to do a drama that would challenge the students. This show calls for vulnerability from the actors and touches on grief, something we all experience.”

“I asked for a lot from Kevin. I needed a full kitchen, a child's bedroom, a living room, and a dining room--all in our little theatre. And he delivered. It has turned out beautifully. The color scheme reflects the true emotions of grief, and the photos on the set are of people who I have lost or who I have nearly lost,” she said.

Rabbit Hole” Information

Remaining Performances: February, 29, March 1, 2 AT 7:30 PM
and March 3 AT 2 PM
ASL interpreted performance on February 29

For tickets, call 218-723-5900 or go to:

Please note: The CSS Theatre is now cashless—card payments only.











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