College of Visual and Performing Arts

Be the Change: Senior Kelly Rudolph


By Jen Kulju (M'04)

Kelly Rudolph

When Kelly Rudolph first visited JMU during her senior year of high school, she was completely “blown away by the enthusiasm, energy and work ethic” of those she met. “I wanted to be surrounded by that [energy and enthusiasm] on a daily basis. So far, I haven’t been disappointed,” says Rudolph.

Rudolph grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, where she performed in middle school plays. She turned to the technical side of theatre in high school when the performance aspect began to dominate her time. She soon learned that “tech” was equally demanding, but “fell in love with it.” As the light board operator, she had the opportunity to think both logically and creatively.

During her later years of high school, Rudolph realized she had found her niche. “I didn’t want to give it [technical theatre] up.” It was then that she decided to study theatre in college—and when she also learned that her mother had been involved with theatre in addition to music growing up. “Theatre had been in my blood all along, and I had no idea,” shares Rudolph. “I learned that I had exposure to the arts, but didn’t realize how much it was influencing me until I embraced it.”

Now a senior theatre and dance major with a concentration in design and technology, Rudolph has spent the last four years embracing the arts at JMU. She was the lighting designer for Peter Pan and Cabaret in the Studio Theatre, and was the assistant lighting designer for The Trojan Women and Spring Awakening in the Mainstage Theatre. Machinal marks her first time being the lighting designer for a main stage show, and Rudolph is excited to be able to use “a lot of fun shadow and color.”  

“Lighting design is where I want to concentrate my efforts for as long as the profession will have me.”

When Rudolph is not experimenting with the latest lighting techniques, she is involved with the theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega (APO) and Madison Equality on campus, and also enjoys reading and writing. As for her future, Rudolph plans to follow her passion for technical theatre. “Lighting design is where I want to concentrate my efforts for as long as the profession will have me.”

Published: Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 9, 2017

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