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The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

SBCC’s co-chair, scenic director lights up the theatre department

Alejandro Gonzalez Valle
Patricia Frank, associate professor and co-chair of the City College Theatre Department, stands in the Garvin Theatre, a place she spends much of her time in, on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at City College in Santa Barbara, Calif. Frank has knowledge in both the artistic and technical side of design.

Patricia Frank, described as a caring and dedicated teacher, has spent her extensive career at the school dreaming up and creating entire worlds for the stage.

Frank’s office is full of drawers of plans and designs, with meticulously thought-out details down to the exact dimensions of a piece of scenery and the specific color and pattern it should be painted.

Frank, associate professor and co-chair of the City College Theatre Department, is the scenic and lighting director for many of City College’s Theatre productions and teaches four classes about theatre production.

She enjoys the challenge and the variety that set design promises and has worked on countless shows for the school since her arrival in 1985.

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“You get to design all kinds of worlds,” Frank said about the appeal of scenic design. “Italian villa, insane asylum, gothic chapel, gymnasium.”

Frank has folder upon folder on her computer of inspiration images found while thoroughly researching every show she works on, allowing her to create a design that is both accurate and visually stunning.

She has extensive knowledge and experience in both the artistic side of design and the technical side, having been a technical director before taking on her current position as a scenic and lighting designer eight years ago.

“She’s very flexible,” said current technical director Ben Crop about their work together. Frank and Crop work collaboratively while taking set designs from ideas to reality. For City College’s recent show “Harvey,” Frank and Crop worked together to execute Frank’s proposal for a rotating stage.

Both staff and students involved with Frank point out her dedication, reliability, and flexibility in regard to design.

“I think she’s a dedicated teacher,” said associate professor and costume and makeup designer Pamela Shaw. “She really cares about her students.”

Michael Duartes, a theatre arts major, is currently taking Frank’s stage lighting class saying it has helped him better appreciate all the people who work on tech and crew for a production.

“I would take a billion classes with her,” said Duartes. “She’s really smart and she knows what she’s doing.”

Frank has a bachelors and a masters degree in art and theatre, which, coupled with her technical experience, makes her incredibly qualified for her position.

“There’s very little that’s lost in the translation between director and designer,” said theatre professor and director Michael Gros. “We’re good partners in the storytelling.”

Beyond her professional reputation, Frank is also well known for her lively sense of humor.

“In the very stressful world we live in, having a good sense of humor is necessary for good mental health,” said Gros.

Frank is currently starting preliminary designs for City College’s summer 2019 production of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.”

After finishing Harvey, Frank is now on to her next project. “Once it opens… I move on to the next thing,” said Frank.

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