Campus News

Who is David Bugher?

June 17, 2021

Yvonne Gay

David Bugher
David Bugher, assistant technical director of theater.
Photo credit: Bryan Rubin '18

Although David Bugher has spent more than a decade at Oberlin crafting detailed theater sets that bring productions to life, he is often mistaken as a member of the college’s CIT department. Find out why in this installment of Who Am I?


Department and location on campus: Theater located in the Nord Annex / Hall Auditorium / Hall Annex

Job title: Assistant Technical Director (which gets mistaken for computer work all the time). 

What does your job entail? My job is to construct the sets used in all our performing spaces.

How many years at Oberlin? 18

Favorite place in Oberlin and why? My home, because it is where I relax the most.

Many theater sets at Oberlin are very detailed—from apartment buildings to the fronts of homes! What excites you about this process? Each show we present is different from the last. There is no repetition which makes it seem as if you're starting over from scratch each time.

What are your top three set builds at Oberlin? Eurydice (which I also appeared as an actor), Street Scene, and Reefer Madness.

What have been your most difficult designs? Street Scene was very challenging as we built each part of the building separately to allow the painters to do their work, and then once painted, we put it all together which was incredibly challenging. But in the end it all came together.

What has building for film (because of COVID-19) been like for you? Is it different from building for a live audience? This past year I assembled four recording "booths" for our radio play The Misanthrope. A green screen wall for our Zoom play Fires in the Mirror. And finally a set for Twilight Bowl which was filmed. Nothing was remarkably different than building a set for a live audience. One always wants as much detail on the set as possible, and if you had a chance to view Twilight Bowl maybe you saw all the set dressing.

What will you enjoy most about having a live audience in the theater again? Having a live audience is why I do theater. Getting that energy from the audience is unlike seeing a film. You know if they're with you or not. There is an excitement when the audience comes into the space, and more often than not can see the stage in a dimly lit glow. I find as an audience member I'm taking in the space and looking at the details. It brings me joy.

Hobbies? I am going to pick up my guitar again. 

Nickname(s)? None that I know of. Sometimes my ears burn around certain people so they might have coined a phrase or two.

Favorite song? Too many, but most would be filled by the works of Bob Dylan (a personal hero).

Favorite food? My husband Matthew's cooking

Favorite movie? Harold and Maude

Favorite quote? “When you ain't got nothing, you've got nothing to lose,” by Bob Dylan.

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