Student Spotlight: Andrew Baynard ’17

Andrew Baynard ’17


Baynard is the Lighting Designer for this spring’s MACBETH.

UMW theatre students take on many roles within the department, especially when it comes to the technical side of theatre. One such student is Andrew Baynard ’17, who has dabbled in lights, sound, and carpentry. After joining the department his first year as the sound engineer for The Miss Firecracker Contest, his interest in technical theatre led to a job with the department, first as the electrics assistant and then as a shop assistant. Baynard has worked on many shows in Klein, including Always…Patsy Cline, Lysistrata, Doubt, Sunday in the Park With George, The Drunken City, Lady Windermere’s Fan, Noises Off, Avenue Q, Frozen, and Tartuffe. This year, he has worked as the assistant to the lighting designer for Assistance and as a carpenter for The Mystery of Edwin Drood, and Steel Magnolias. This spring, he will be making his design debut in Klein as the lighting designer and master electrician for Macbeth.

T&D: What is your major?

Theatre and Political Science.

T&D: What is your main focus in theatre?

Lighting, both design and electrics.

T&D: Where is your hometown?

I grew up in Alexandria and Manassas, Virginia. Then I went to school in Christchurch, Virginia.

T&D: What brought you to UMW?

My cousin came to UMW and he liked it, so when my senior year came around, I applied early action and got in. Without even seeing the university, I chose to go here.


Baynard was the Sound Engineer for 2013’s The Miss Firecracker Contest.

T&D: How did you first get interested in theatre?

I got into the technical side of theatre by volunteering at my church back home, the Life Church. That taught me some of the more complex things about lighting, like digital multiplex. My senior year of high school, I was the only tech in the department, in every sense. I hung the lights, I hung the speakers, and I painted and built the sets. Originally, when I applied to UMW, I didn’t have any major in mind. I was thinking about doing the ROTC program, but then I decided against that. The first thing I did for the department was during my freshman year, when I was the sound board operator for The Miss Firecracker Contest. By my second semester of freshman year, I was in the thick of it all!

When I first came here, I thought I knew everything because of what I’d experienced in high school, and realized very quickly that I had a lot to learn. When I came to UMW, I got more of the basic training. What is front lighting, side lighting, all that stuff.

T&D: Tell us about your Senior Project.

I am the lighting designer and master electrician for Macbeth. Lighting design is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult areas of design. What makes lighting design difficult is it’s all theoretical until you get onstage. You have to have all the other parts in place to be able to do it. There’s a lot of communication with the director to make sure you have their vision in mind when you’re doing your design. You have to have set and costuming in mind so your lighting isn’t clashing with what they have designed.

T&D: What’s your favorite show that you’ve been involved with at UMW?

If I had to pick one, it would be Sunday in the Park with George because of the music. I never actually saw the entire show because I was operating the fly rail, but what I could see, I found very interesting.

T&D: What is your favorite candy?


T&D: What is your favorite word?

I can’t pronounce it, but it’s “Honorificabilitudinitatibus”. It’s the longest word in Shakespeare. I don’t remember the definition, but I think it’s the best example of someone making stuff up and getting famous for doing so.

T&D: What is your least favorite word?

2015's Sunday in the Park with George was Baynard's favorite show to work on at UMW.

2015’s Sunday in the Park with George was Baynard’s favorite show to work on at UMW.

I would have to say “heads”, because it’s what we tell you to say to warn people in the shop if you drop something from the catwalk, where they are hanging the lights overhead. It’s the last thing I would hear before something hits me.

T&D: What is your favorite planet?

I guess Earth, because I’m not really on speaking terms with any other planets at the moment.

T&D: What are some of your interests outside of theatre?

I like nature, especially things having to do with the water. I don’t have much time for that kind of thing now, but I do enjoy it.

T&D: What’s been one of your favorite classes you’ve taken in the Theatre Department?

My favorite class would be the second section of Technical Production, which is about lights and sound. I took it with Julie Hodge, and that class truly showed me how much more I had to learn about what it is I want to do. It gave me that reality check that I don’t know everything.

T&D: If you could work on any play or musical what would it be?

I would like to do a full-scale production of Pippin. That was the show I did all of the tech for during my senior year of high school, and although the show got done, it was horrendous. It needed a lot of work. I would like to revisit that show and do it properly.

T&D: What are your plans after graduation?

Immediately after graduation, I intend to apply for jobs at theatres in D.C or at other companies. The end goal for the next five to ten years is to get a full-time position or a stable part-time position as a board operator or on-call electrician. I want to get more professional experience in that realm.

T&D: What advice would you give to incoming students who are thinking about joining the theatre department?

What makes UMW the best is their ability to change and adapt. For those who know tech, there is no perfect show. You have to keep working at making those changes, and just accept that not everything is going to be perfect.

Macbeth opens April 13 and runs through April 23! Call the Klein Theatre Box Office at 540-654-1111 or visit to reserve your tickets starting April 6!