Associate Professor of Performance, Theater and Dance
Performance, Theater, and Dance
4525 Mayflower Hill Waterville, Maine 04901-8853
M: 10:30am-12:00pm; W: 10:30am-12:00p
|Introduction to Design
|Topics in Design: Light and Performance
|Advanced Topics in Design: Architectural Imaging
M.F.A., Scenography, Northwestern University, 1987.
B.A., Theater Major, Art History Minor, Ohio Wesleyan University, 1982.
Areas of Expertise
Scene Design and Light Design
Theater Architecture and Performance Space
Computer-Aided Design for Performance
Jim Thurston is a professional scenographer and educator. He is the resident designer of the Department of Performance, Theater, and Dance at Colby College, teaching courses in performance design, interactive performance media, and architectural imaging. He holds a Masters of Fine Arts in stage design from Northwestern University’s School of Communication. Jim’s specialties include scenic/light/projection design, environmental scenography, interactive performance media, and mentoring students interested in architecture and design. Jim has designed over 150 productions in professional and academic contexts.
Fascinated by light, Jim researches the influence of the Light and Space movement on light art and scenography. Inspired by light and new technologies emerging from the aerospace industry in the 1960s and 1970s, light and space artists explored and emphasized art that emitted light, transformed light, and presented light in immersive ways. Through this work light became an autonomous, immersive visual and phenomenological artistic element, much like the ever-evolving use of light in performance design.
At Colby, Jim supports student-driven, professionally mentored interdisciplinary arts incubators as vehicles for the development and public testing of new work. Recent examples include Lost With You (2017) (featuring New York City residency); Strings (2019) (a fusion of computer science, music, and theater and dance), and Murmurations (2022) (an exploration of birds and their unique behavior).
Jim served two terms as department chair, was a principal for a CBB Mellon Collaborative Faculty Enhancement Grant (“Live Performance and Digital Media: Expanding Creative and Pedagogical Opportunities”), served on the Board of Directors for the Waterville Opera House during the renovation of this historical landmark, and served as a faculty lead on Colby’s Gordon Center for Creative and Performing Arts project.
Jim is a member of USITT (The Association for Performing Arts & Entertainment Professionals) and supports a wide range of arts and performing arts organizations.