The Light Stuff

Theater students

Students enrolled in Scott Needham’s Lighting for the Theater, Lighting Design, and Stagecraft I and II classes in the Fine Arts department may not realize how much they’ve lucked out. An adjunct instructor, Scott couldn’t be better equipped to teach technical theater courses.

His circuitous route to Forsyth Tech began in Pilot Mountain, where he grew up, before he headed to Western Carolina University to study theater and dance. He then enrolled in the Theater Arts program at the University of Iowa, earning a master’s degree, with a focus on theatrical lighting. He also completed an internship at the Massachusetts Williamstown Theater Festival, the largest repertory summer stock festival in America.

After graduating, Scott set off for New York where, for the next five years, he freelanced, perfecting his technical skills in lighting, set design and motion graphics for theater, opera and dance productions, as well as large commercial events, such as auto shows.

He now divides his time between teaching technical theater courses at Forsyth Tech and directing lighting for community theater productions. He also owns and operates two small businesses in Pilot Mountain: Needham Holdings, a property management/real estate company, and The Living Room Coffeehouse and Wine Bar.

Scott brings students to theater productions he’s working on to gain experience. This past spring, students helped con­struct sets and practiced using light-control equipment for two musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, at Winston-Salem Theater Alliance. “Before the creative work can begin, students need to learn safety procedures. Some have never used a saw before, and lighting students need to learn to avoid touching a live wire,” explains Scott.

In addition to his involvement in community theater, Scott has played an active role in the community where he lives. He has served as chairman of the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority, and last December he received a well-deserved honor: the 2015 Citizen of the Year award from the Pilot Mountain Civic Club.