Terry Ronald

Inducted into the Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame, October 20, 2003.

Have you ever heard this phrase? "Let's do it with lights?"

Actual conversations overheard: "Um, we need an earthquake at the end of Scene Two..." Actual review in the London Sunday Times... "Effective Earthquake... Lighting by Terry Ronald!"

And another one: "Oh, we've got this group of long-haired, guitar-playing, weirdos performing at Liverpool University Hall tonight, can you give them some help?" Headline: "Brilliant Lighting Effects by Terry Ronald launches... the Beatles!"

During his time working on theatrical projects at Liverpool University he managed to squeeze in undergraduate and graduate degrees in that "Easy A" subject: Physics. Terry came to United States to work at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Eventually, he was appointed to Manager of Materials and Structures Development for the National Aerospace Plane Program...Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he is a Rocket Scientist.

But that wasn't enough. Fearing that he'd be labeled an "underachiever," he lent his particular lighting skills to an estimated several hundred productions at a variety of theatres.

But beyond his productivity, it's his passion for the craft that truly sets Terry apart. His work is simply brilliant. I have seen him turn cardboard to glittering gold and aging leading ladies into ingenues.

Fellow artists, please welcome scientist, scholar, teacher, actor, designer, visionary, tireless collaborator —- suspender of disbelief: Doctor Terry Ronald.

-- Michael Boyd

Terry Ronald

Terry learned the basics of lighting design in high school in his native England. Subsequently, he became inextricably involved in theatre during his eight years as a student at the University of Liverpool, while working on undergraduate and doctoral degrees in physics. For five of those years he was the technical director of the university theatre, where his main artistic interest was in lighting design. Some notable accomplishments in that period included the designs for a production of Pirandello's Henry IV that was the winner at the London Sunday Times British Universities Annual Theatre Festival; for a production of the same play at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland; and for an outdoor production of King Lear in the 13th century Caernarvon Castle in Wales. He also designed lighting for a group called The Beatles in their early days, when they were still playing locally in the Liverpool area.

Since coming to the U.S. in 1964, he has been involved with a number of theatres in the Dayton area, creating lighting designs for several hundred productions. These have included community, university and professional theatres, and the scope of the productions has covered plays, musicals, dances, concerts and other assorted events, both indoors and outdoors. He has lit almost all productions at the Dayton Theatre Guild and the Dayton Playhouse for the last twenty years or so.

Complementing his design activity, he has conducted a number of workshops for local theatres and for the Ohio Community Theatre Association. He has been a guest lecturer on lighting design at Antioch University and has been active in designing for high school productions and teaching high school students about lighting design. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, including recognition for outstanding designs for many years at the Dayton Playhouse and the Dayton Theatre Guild. He has been honored as a Lifetime member of the Dayton Playhouse and he has received several DayTony awards.

Occasionally, when the opportunity has arisen, he has enjoyed acting and has had lead roles in several plays at a number of theatres, including A Man for All Seasons, The Importance of Being Earnest, Educating Rita, The Playboy of the Western World, The Hostage, and several Shakespeare productions. He was the recipient of the Dayton Theatre Guild Best Actor in a Leading Role Murphy Award for his work in A Man for All Seasons.

When not lighting productions, he spent his formal career at the Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson AFB, where he held a number of research and management positions related to his specialty of aerospace materials and structures before retiring a few years ago.