The Theatre School > About > Faculty & Staff > Emeritus > Bio

Wayne W. Smith

  • DePaul Emeritus Society; Former Properties Master, Safety Officer
  • BFA University of Illinois-Urbana
  • Emeriti Staff

Wayne joined The Theatre School in September 1982, and retired in 2014. He supervised the production of all properties for over 1,000 productions at The Theatre School. He maintained and developed one of the most extensive and highly regarded stocks of theatrical hand props and furniture props in the city of Chicago, adapting to numerous shop facilities along the way—from Grant Place to the Lyceum on Sheffield, and from a converted gym on Kenmore Avenue to our artistic home at Racine and Fullerton. Wayne greatly enjoyed the teaching and mentorship of our students, and managed resources to not only support their work at various levels of production, but also to support theatres throughout the region—making rentals available when possible, and sharing his expertise with the community. Wayne has worked on properties for the Goodman Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Court Theatre, and the International Theatre Festival of Chicago. He has extensive experience in many forms of mold making, casting, weapon use and construction, theatrical safely, puppet construction, and special effects. In 2008 he built a rotisserie casting machine for break-away props for The Theatre School, engineering an alternative solution to the otherwise pricey west-coast offerings. His work on this project was featured in numerous publications, including USITT’s Tech Expo and Stage Directions, and will continue to be featured (safely!) on Theatre School stages for many future seasons. During his time at the school, Wayne also served as Interim Technical Director, Assistant Technical Director, orchestrated classroom equipment and furniture, scene shop tool repair and maintenance, and much more.  He was instrumental in revising and writing numerous versions of our safety handbook, production publications, and also served two terms as a representative on DePaul University’s Staff Council (chairing its Communications Committee), among other university committee work and activities. He is active as a member in both the national and the Midwest sections of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT), for whom he has also served as a professional presenter (including the 1996 session of “Blood and Guts, Fire and Brimstone” for USITT Midwest, hosted at The Theatre School). In addition, Wayne is a member of the Society of Property Artisans and Managers (S*P*A*M), for whom he has been featured numerous times as a professional presenter and speaker.