Mr. Joshua Heerssen
Mr. Heerssen being Mr. Heerssen!
Mr. Heerssen’s passion for technical theatre began at Austin High School in Sugar Land. He was inducted into Thespian Troupe 5448 in May 1997, and his high school lighting designs earned him a theatre scholarship to Stephen F. Austin State University. He graduated in May 2004 with his B.F.A. in Theatre with an emphasis in Lighting and Set Design and moved to Tucson, Arizona to be the electrician for Arizona Theatre Company. Mr. Heerssen traveled between their Tucson and Phoenix theatres working on light hangs, focus, and programming.
While working on The Pirates of Penzance with professional lighting designer John McLain, he was asked to join the crew at the International Spoleto Theatre Festival as an electrician under Mr. McLain. He had the honor of working in the oldest original theatre in America: the Dock Street Theatre in Charleston, South Carolina.
After a grueling season at Spoleto, Mr. Heerssen came back to Houston to work in the sales department for StageLight. He honed his skills as a lighting designer by visiting manufacturers and seeing how lighting equipment and accessories are made; and he was able to work with, and sell to, the top lighting designers in the area, as well as Broadway touring designers.
At StageLight he was asked to help out with a lighting and curtain install at a new high school called "Katy #6”. It was in the P.A.C. of this new school that he met the head director of the theatre department, Mr. Chocs Landgrebe. After learning that Chocs was mostly an "Acting Director", Mr. Heerssen handed him his personal business card and said, "Let me know if you ever need any help with tech or lighting, I would love to come over and help you out.” …and he never heard from him.
Mr. Heerssen kept meeting designers, production managers, and theatre directors around town. He worked as the Master Electrician at Rice University's Opera Department, he was the production manager and lighting designer at the Great Caruso Dinner Theatre (until it burnt down, R.I.P.), and did freelance design work at many local theatres.
Later, he left StageLight and joined a local company that worked on touring productions around the US. For a year, he was the Production Manager and Lighting Designer for the Broadway Dance Center, traveling the country with the Pulse Tour.
It was a bitterly cold February day on the tour, -20° F in St. Paul, Minnesota, when Mr. Heerssen’s Palm Treo Phone rang. It was Chocs. The year was 2007. “Katy #6” was now Seven Lakes High School, and Chocs' theatre classes were bursting at the seams. Seven Lakes was looking for a second director to start the 2007-2008 school year and while researching his contacts for a Technical Director, Chocs found Mr. Heerssen's business card.
Mr. Heerssen was tired of traveling (and missing his fiancé Katy), so the next time he was in Houston he met up with Chocs. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Mr. Heerssen has been the Technical Director, P.A.C. Manager, and Thespian Troupe Sponsor since August 2007, and in November that same year he was married to his beautiful wife. They now have two daughters, Maelyn and Lucy. Mr. Heerssen earned his Master of Arts in Theatre Education from the University of Houston in August 2010.