All posts by Scott Cooper

Set Design for Jobsite Production Done by SPC Students, Staff

Hedda set design: Scott Cooper
Scenery built and painted by SPC Students

Jobsite Theater Company is producing Lucy Kirkwood’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler (renamed Hedda) opening Friday, May 10 at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. Set design for the production was done by myself, SPC Faculty member Scott Cooper, and was built and painted by SPC Theater Department Students under the direction of Technical Director Eric Haak.

This is the second collaboration between SPC Theater Department and Jobsite Theater after last fall’s Edgar and Emily was a great success on both sides of the bay. The mutually beneficial partnership allows SPC students a chance to work for, and in, a professional theater company, and Jobsite Theater gets many talented people working on their productions.

Jobsite Artistic Director David Jenkins and I came up with the plan for the collaboration on this project with students in hopes that this would become a yearly internship opportunity. It has worked well, and the collaboration will continue on next fall for Jobsite’s production of The Thanksgiving Play.

According to Jobsite, Hedda is an updated version of Ibsen’s classic by young British playwright Lucy Kirkwood. Set in modern Notting Hill, the play tells the story of a woman who feels trapped by her past and terrified by her future, bored by her life but afraid to make changes. Ultimately, something has to give.

SPC Students working on the set

SPC Theater Sets Audition and Tech Interview Dates for Summer Musical PIPPIN

Pippin SPC Theater Production

SPC Theater is excited to announce its high school/college summer musical – PIPPIN.

Written by Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson, this musical follows the journey of Charlemagne’s son, Pippin, in his quest for the extraordinary life he believes he deserves (don’t we all?). Along the way a troupe of players help him find out what works and what doesn’t– leading to the players big “finale” for Pippin.

Originally produced on Broadway in 1972 and later successfully revived in 2013, PIPPIN has been wowing audiences for decades. Previously set in a traveling theater troupe (and in 2013 at a circus), SPC’s production will be slightly different. The musical will be set in a run-down museum exhibit about Charlemagne and his life with the exhibit coming to life to tell the story of Pippin.

This musical is open to all high school and college students in the area for both acting and technical theater positions.

After successful runs of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and URINETOWN (a Top 10 production in the Tampa Bay area), SPC is looking forward to producing another successful summer musical.

Interview, audition and production details:

Technical Theater Interviews: Monday, May 13 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

All students who want to be a part of our tech team should interview on this day (with a portfolio or pictures of productions you have worked on).

Tech times will be 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (M-F) starting May 30 in the Arts Auditorium.

Auditions: Tuesday, May 14, and Wednesday, May 15, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Students should prepare a 32 bar cutting from a musical theater song. Please be prepared to dance after the singing audition.

Callbacks will be held on Thursday, May 16, from 5 – 8 p.m.

Rehearsals: Will be from 12 – 4 p.m. daily (M-F) starting May 30 in the Arts Auditorium. Rehearsals on May 28/20 will be from 5-9 p.m.

Performances: Will be June 28 – 29 at 7:30 p.m. and June 29 – 30 at 2 p.m.

The fee for this event is $15 general admission, and tickets are only available at the door.

Want more information?

Contact Scott Cooper at

SPC Theater Presents Medea

spc theater

This spring, St. Petersburg College‘s Theater Department presents its production of Euripides’ Medea, in a new translation by Nicholas Rudall. Medea is a Greek tragedy about a woman who has been scorned by her husband and takes very extreme measures to get her revenge on him. Written in 431 B.C., this play is both lyrical and horrific in content.

With a cast of 18, this production marks my return to the stage in the role of Creon, which is also double cast with a student. My last foray onto the stage was at SPC in 2001 in Bus Stop. I am not really one to be on stage any more, but students are always asking me when they would get to see me act, and this play just seemed a good time to take the chance and get back out there. I will also be designing the set for Medea, which will include thousands of candles onstage.

spc theater
Model of Medea set

This production also marks the return of Betty Jane Parks as director. Park’s last directed our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and students are excited to work with her again.

SPC Theater will perform Medea March 27-31 at the Arts Auditorium on the Clearwater Campus. My performances will be March 27 – 30 at 7:30 p.m. as well as March 30 – 31 at 2 p.m. An open dress rehearsal also will be held on March 26 at 7:30 p.m. SPC students, faculty and staff are free; general admission is $10.

SPC and Jobsite Theater Join for Fall Production

Collage of students working on set for Jobsite Theater

This fall, 10 St. Petersburg College theater students are working every Friday to build a set for Jobsite Theater‘s production of Edgar & Emily.

On Sept. 28, they will move the set to the Shimburg Theater in the Straz Center for the Performing Arts and work on finalizing the show with the actors, designers and director.

This collaboration came about from a conversation between Jobsite’s Artistic Director David Jenkins and Theater Professor Scott Cooper (who also happens to be a union set designer).

“Jobsite is a theater company I have worked with in the past, and David came to me with an idea of using my designs and the building skills of my students for two shows for their upcoming season (Edgar & Emilyin the fall and Hedda in the spring),” Cooper said. “I thought it was a great way to get students out working in the professional theater world but also be able to educate them on how to work in professional theater without being thrown in the deep end. The students have worked hard and quickly (quicker than usual for us), and I think they have learned just how fast this all goes.”

Katrina Stevenson, who is an adjunct faculty member at SPC and a member of the Jobsite Acting Ensemble, will star in the production.

About the Jobsite Theater production:

In January 1864, reclusive poet Emily Dickinson (Katrina Stevenson) receives a surprise guest – Edgar Allan Poe (Paul J. Potenza). Although Poe died 15 years prior, he arrives quite alive and just as energized by death as ever before—one could say death kindly stopped for Emily, after all. Though the evening pits the pendulum of both poets’ personalities against the other in this comic fantasia, Emily and Edgar find they have a lot in common despite their differences. The heart tells the tale, you know.

Edgar & Emily is directed by David Jenkins (who also provides sound) with a scenic design courtesy Scott Cooper, lights by Jo Averill-Snell, and costumes by Katrina Stevenson. The set for this show is part of a special collaboration between Jobsite and St. Petersburg College’s Theater Department that allowed students to learn while working on a professional production. Edgar & Emily is written by Joseph McDonough.


SPC Theater Audition Schedule Set for Noises Off

SPC Theater audition schedule set for production of Noises Off

Mark your calendar. The SPC Theater audition schedule has been announced for the department’s fall production,  Noises Off.

Noises Off is a 1982 play by the English playwright Michael Frayn, who got the idea for it while watching a disastrous play performance from the wings. Door slamming, missed cues, and romantic intrigue will have you roaring with laughter as the cast’s collective sanity slowly unravels. Yet, the show must go on despite the catastrophe being played out on stage and the vicious antics among the actors backstage. Most famous for its revolving set, this is truly one of the funniest plays ever written, and I, SPC Theater Professor Scott Cooper, will be directing the production.

“Bumper car brilliance…If laughter is indeed the best medicine, Noises Off is worth it’s weight in Cipro.”   – New York Daily News

“The funniest farce ever written!  Never before has side-splitting taken on a meaning dangerously close to the non-metaphorically medical.”  – New York Post.

“The most dexterously realized comedy ever about putting on a comedy.  A spectacularly funny, peerless backstage farce. This dizzy, well-known romp is a festival of delirium.” – The New York Times

Audition details

I am looking for actors who can do British accents and are comfortable with physical comedy. Students who audition should prepare a one-minute comic monologue from a play. There will also be readings from the script.

SPC Theater audition schedule, rehearsal times, performance dates

  • Auditions will be held in the Arts Auditorium on the Clearwater Campus on Aug. 21 and 22 from 5-8 p.m.
  • Rehearsals will be Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. weekly.
  • Performances will be Oct. 17-21.

Theater at SPC

From acting, stage production, costume and set design to house management, the theater arts program at SPC empowers students to explore their creativity and hone their stagecraft.

With two productions a year, you can audition for roles that empower you to perfect your craft and build your resume.



SPC Theater Summer Camp 2018 Launches in May

SPC Summer Theater Camp 2018

Be part of the action in producing a musical at the SPC Theater Summer Camp 2018 for high school and college students.

Graphic for SPC Summer Camp 2018 production

This year’s production will be Urinetown: The Musical, a satirical comedy that skewers the legal system, capitalism, bureaucracy, and corporate management  – to name just  a few.

SPC’s Associate Theater Professor Scott Cooper will  direct. The production’s music director will be Tom Guthrie from Humanities and Fine Arts at the college.

Summer Musical Theater program

This summer-intensive program started in 2017 when the SPC Theater Department produced Fiddler on the Roof. High school and college students took part in the technical and performance side of the show. Both showings of the production sold out.

This program is open to ALL local students in both high school and college.  You do not have to be a registered SPC student to sign up for this course.

“I ended up casting 32 students in the production and was able to use all 14 technical students.  In five weeks, we put on a highly professional production of FIDDLER – built, painted, sewn, performed and put together by students,” Cooper said about the 2017 production.

Haley Groth, a student who took part in the 2017 camp as a technician, said, “I urge everyone, technical students and actors alike, to foray into the world of technical theater in the SPC summer theater program. I will apply what I learned here to the rest of my life, inside and outside of the theater.”

Theater Summer Camp 2018 details
  • Auditions: 4:30 – 8 p.m., May 22 & 23 with callback May 24 at 4:30 p.m.
  • TECH Interviews:  4:30 – 5:30 p.m. May 22 & 23
  • Rehearsals:  May 29 -June 28 (12 -4 p.m. Monday-Friday)
  • Tech Hours:  May 29 -June 28 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday-Friday)
  • Performances:  June 29 & 30 at 7:30 p.m. and June 30 &  July 1 at 2 p.m.

Cost:  $115.  Scholarships are available.

Where:  Arts Auditorium, SPC Clearwater Campus

Auditions and interviews

ACTORS: 16-32 bars of a contemporary musical theater song (after 2000).  Accompaniment will be provided. Please bring sheet music.

TECH:  Bring pictures of shows you have worked on.

Have questions?

Please contact Professor Cooper, who heads the college’s theater department, at


SPC Theater Auditions for Spring Production Start Nov. 28

Theater Auditions for SPC Theater's Laughing Stock

The St. Petersburg College Theater Department has announced theater auditions for its upcoming play, LAUGHING STOCK, by Charles Morey.

Theater auditions will be held Tuesday, Nov. 28, and Wednesday, Nov. 29, at 5 pm in the Arts Auditorium on the Clearwater Campus.

What’s it all about?

LAUGHING STOCK is a hilarious backstage farce and genuinely affectionate look into the world of the theatre.

When The Playhouse, a rustic New England summer theatre, schedules a repertory season of DraculaHamlet and Charley’s Aunt, comic mayhem ensues. We follow the well-intentioned but over-matched company from outrageous auditions to ego-driven rehearsals, through opening nights gone disastrously awry to the elation of a great play well told and the comic and nostalgic season close.

Details for theater auditions
  • Students who wish to audition will need to prepare a 1-minute, comic monologue. (If you don’t have one prepared, readings will be done from the script of the play.)
  • Rehearsals for the play start the week of Jan 22.
  • If cast in the play, you will need to sign up for the Acting Repertory class at the college (1 credit).

If you have questions about the play, please contact Scott Cooper at

Available roles
  • Gordon Page, 40’s-50’s. Artistic Director. (Leader of the pack. He’s in most scenes.)
  • Jack Morris, 20’s. Actor. (The Juvenile. Should he quit acting, and go to law school?)
  • Susannah Huntsman, 30’s. Director. (We’ve all had directors like this one, unfortunately.)
  • Mary Pierre, 20’s. Actor. (The ingénue. Earnest to a fault.)
  • Tyler Taylor, 30’s-40’s. Actor. (Leading roles only, please.)
  • Vernon Volker, 40’s-50’s, Actor. (Summer stock may be beneath him.)
  • Richfield Hawksley, 70’s. Actor. (Done it all, played them all, if he could only remember.)
  • Daisy Coates, 60’s-70’s. Actor. (Has been ready to play Ophelia for 40 years.)
  • Craig Conlin (could be man or woman), 30’s-50’s. Business Manager. (Someone has to watch the money.)
  • Sarah McKay, 40’s-50’s. Stage Manager. (Efficient, acerbic, never without her drink mug.)
  • Henry Mills, (could be man or woman) 30’s-40’s. Designer. (Must he really create it all with paper and scissors?)
  • And the inexperienced, overworked, and faithful apprentices:
    • Karma Schneider
    • Braun Oakes
    • Ian Milliken
    • possibly more?

A different look at 12 ANGRY JURORS

SPC Theater's 12 Angry Jurors

St. Petersburg College’s Associate Theater Professor Scott Cooper explains his vision for the upcoming production of 12 ANGRY JURORS, set to open Oct. 11.

When I looked for a show to do this fall, I knew I wanted to do something that had a bit of bite to it.  It needed to look at the world in a matter of fact way and say something about the climate that we are all facing in the world today.

After reading many plays, I was just about to give up when someone told me to take another look at 12 ANGRY MEN by Reginald Rose.   Based on the teleplay from the 1950s, it is a harsh look inside a jury room while the jurors deliberate a death penalty murder trial.  It is heated and dramatic, and I have always enjoyed the play. But would it stand up to today’s tough standards of a drama? I read the play and discovered that not only was it about ethics and the law but race issues, humanity, and hope.  I thought, “I can do this, and I think students and the community would be interested in what this play has to say.”

Casting, staging changes for 12 ANGRY JURORS

Obviously, we needed to move from 12 ANGRY MEN to 12 ANGRY JURORS and include women in the play so we have moved the action to the mid-1960s.  In my opinion, this elevates the play to a different place than just having men discuss these issues.

My other qualm was that it was a classic play, and I wanted the audience to really look at this piece with a fresh eye and differently than the standard proscenium staging that it usually receives. I realized that that was the key to doing this play for me – to change the type of theater and get the audience closer and more involved.  So, I am doing the play in an arena staging with the audience sitting on stage with the actors all around them.   This highlights the feeling these people are really trapped in this room until they make a decision even more intense for the audience.

With Act 1 staged, this is working out really well.  It is a great challenge for the actors to keep moving enough that they don’t ignore the different sides of the audience, and it allows them to have a more intimate relationship with each other, really looking each other in the eye as they argue their side of the case.

It is really a different look at this play – from all sides – literally!  With only 70 seats per performance, you might want to get there a bit early to make sure you get a good seat.

Opening in October

SPC Theater’s fall production of 12 ANGRY JURORS will go on despite hurricanes. Opening Oct. 11, 12 ANGRY JURORS runs Oct. 11-14 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 14-15 at 2 p.m. in the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater Campus.

SPC students, faculty, staff, and high school students free with ID. General admission $10.

For more information, contact Scott Cooper at

Auditions set for SPC Theater’s fall production of ’12 Angry Jurors’

12 Angry Jurors Logo

The first week of Fall 2017 sign up to take part in auditions for SPC Theater’s production of “12 Angry Jurors.”

Auditions are scheduled for Aug. 16 and 17 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Arts Auditorium at the Clearwater Campus.

More about “12 Angry Jurors”

Directed by SPC Theater Professor Scott Cooper, the performance is a nail-biter set around a trial.  Twelve people walk into a room to decide the life or death of a teen on trial for murder.  With twists and turns, the jury feels the weight of the arguments. The final conclusion is anyone’s guess.

The play, currently set  to hit the stage in October, will be performed in the round with the audience on stage.

Performance dates are:

  • Oct. 11 – 14 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Oct. 14 – 15 at 2 p.m.
Auditions for “12 Angry Jurors”

For the auditions:

  • Prepare a 1-minute dramatic monologue.
  • There will be cold readings at each audition night.

Rehearsals begin on Aug. 19 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The full rehearsal schedule will be provided at the auditions.

Theater at SPC

The SPC Theater Department holds two productions a year.

In Summer 2017, Cooper produced and directed two sold-out performances of the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It was the largest production the department has put on with 32 local high school and college actors, plus 14 technical students who created the costumes, set, and props, plus worked on light and sound.

Read more about SPC Theater on the college’s blogs or follow them on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram using #spctheater.

What can you learn from summer musical theater?

SPC Theater's Fiddler On the Roof Musical

For the first time, I produced and directed a summer musical at St. Petersburg College open to all area high school and college students. The response was really amazing.

Not only did we have two sold-out performances of the musical Fiddler on the Roof, but we had an amazing turnout of 50 auditioning students and 14 technical theater students.  I ended up casting 32 students in the production and was able to use all 14 technical students.  In five weeks, we put on a highly professional production of FIDDLER – built, painted, sewn, performed and put together by students.

What I was most interested in was what the high school students took away from this experience.  I had three sets of siblings involved with the musical. One set,  Alex and Haley Groth, were on both the technical (Haley) and acting (Alex) sides of the production.

I asked the two sisters:

  • What made you want to be part of the SPC summer musical?
  • What did you learn doing the SPC summer musical?
  • How did this experience make you a better theater person?

Here were their responses and takeaways from the production.

Alex Groth, actor (17)

Hi. My name is Alex Groth. I’m 17 years old, and I was a member of the chorus in SPC’s production of Fiddler on the Roof this summer.

After an insane school year in which I had participated in many productions, I was looking for a summer project that I could be a part of which would expand my knowledge as a theater person and help my growth as a performer.  When my teacher suggested being a part of this show, I wasn’t sure initially how the process would be when I auditioned, because I had no experience with the SPC Theater Department and only knew two other people who were auditioning.

I went into the experience completely blind, with limited expectations. I am so glad that I decided to take a leap and participate in the show because I could never had anticipated the ways I was able to grow as a performer and person.

Opening night Friday for Fiddler on the Roof at the St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus! Support the high school &…

Posted by St. Petersburg College on Friday, June 30, 2017

I was both excited and nervous to hear that I was cast in the chorus, because that meant that I had to put myself out there and go into an environment that I knew very little about.

I was instantly impressed by the level of professionalism and determination from both the cast and crew, as well as our directors. Every person involved had this drive and passion for the show, and we were able to learn the show quickly, without anyone holding us back.

I was at first a little hesitant about the time because this entire process was only five weeks, and Fiddler is a very intimidating show to do in that time period. But my fears were cast away as I realized that every single performer and crew member was ready to take on the challenge and did so with a hunger to learn more about theater and gain as much exposure to their theatrical field as possible.

The direction was so focused and to the point, I was never confused about what Scott wanted from me as a performer, which made the task of navigating through a huge show much easier.

I quickly became friends with an amazing group of people whose motivation pushed me to become better in every rehearsal. All of our hard work was rewarded with the best end result any of us could expect – two sold-out shows.

I learned so much about theater, but the most important thing this production has shown me is that you can maintain a high level of professionalism and be productive while having fun. And honestly, I believe this combination was vital to our success. Not only have I been able to become friends with some outstanding people who have the same passion for theater as I do, but I have learned so much by being a part of a college show, which taught me a lot about the expectations of a performer and how to fulfill them.

Haley Groth, technician (15)

'Fiddler' musicalI have been involved in theater since I was a child, mainly focusing on the performance aspects of the medium. My view on the full production of a musical changed when I ventured into the world of technical theater during my freshman year of high school. Quickly I realized that acting on stage was only one part of the journey into creating an enjoyable show. It is not an afterthought, but rather an essential piece to the show’s complicated puzzle.

Upon learning about SPC’s upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof, I knew that it was my chance to further my insight on technical theater and its impact on the totality of a production.

Throughout the five-week experience of creating Fiddler on the Roof, I gained knowledge unparalleled to my previous experiences. Instead of being stuck in one fixed position throughout the rehearsal process, I was able to actively have a mark on every technical area of the show.

In addition to learning about theater-specific topics, I learned valuable life skills that I can apply to my home as well as the theater, such as repairing and constructing –  I finally know how to use a screw gun! – and sewing and creating garments. Toward the end of the process I was assigned a fixed task (operating the lighting board) that I had never truly encountered in my school life. This focus area gave me detailed information to bring back to my high school in the fall. This program at SPC gave me the confidence to teach others in my school about how technical theater works and contributes to a show’s overall product.

SPC Theater Fiddler On The Roof Musical

I didn’t only learn about technical theater and production, however. I also now understand what it feels like to work on a team. The 14 tech students and I were dedicated and friendly, allowing us to have a unified front and solve problems together. We learned from incredible mentors like Scott Cooper, Eric Haak, Adrian Puente and Celeste Silsby Mannerud about leadership and the qualities we must have to succeed in the theater and in the complexities of teamwork. Together we faced our fears – for me, going up on a lift and using a saw  – with immense support and help from each other. I now feel positive in creating a team and working together successfully wherever I go in my future.

Through understanding how basic elements of a production work, I feel like a more rounded and applicable student and “techie.” I urge everyone, technical students and actors alike, to foray into the world of technical theater in the SPC summer theater program. I will apply what I learned here to the rest of my life, inside and outside of the theater.

About Scott Cooper:

He has designed scenery for American Stage, Jobsite, Gorilla, Jaeb (Straz Center for the Performing Arts), Stageworks and FreeFall theaters in the Tampa Bay area. His work has also been seen at the Goodman and Steppenwolf Theaters in Chicago. He has received Creative Loafing’s Best of the Bay outstanding Scenic Designer in the Tampa Bay area for four consecutive years and recently received NORTON awards for best set design for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY at American Stage and ‘NIGHT MOTHER at Stageworks Theater.  He has been nominated twice for the Jefferson Award in Scenic Design in Chicago for his designs of BUS STOP and AMERICAN BUFFALO, both at American Theater Company. He is otherwise kept busy by being the head of the theater department for St. Petersburg College. He is a proud member of the United Scenic Artists Local 829.