THEATRE TCU HISTORY
FORREST A. NEWLIN
Newlin was born in Emporia, Kansas, in 1938. From Kansas
State Teachers College (now Emporia State University),
he earned a BA in Theatre/Art, a BSE (secondary teaching
degree) in Speech/History, and an MS degree in Speech/Theatre.
During his undergraduate career, he served as student
body president. Later he earned a Ph.D. in Speech and
Dramatic Art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
An acclaimed designer and teacher, Dr. Newlin had a
prestigious career in higher education, teaching at
such institutions as Idaho State University, Emporia
State University, Texas Tech University, University
of Nebraska-Lincoln, Southern Methodist University,
and the University of Oklahoma, before joining Texas
Christian University as Professor and Chair of the Department
of Theatre in 1993. Dr. Newlin taught hundreds of students
through his career, and trained many of the finest designers
in professional and academic theatre today; he served
as the graduate advisor for more than 25 graduate theses
He served as a Fulbright Lecturer to the National Taiwan
University and the National Institute of the Arts in
Taipei, Taiwn in 1985-86.
His professional design and management credits include
outstanding work for Viva Productions of New Mexico,
Music Theatre of Wichita, Chinese Cultural University,
the Greenville Avenue Theatre in Dallas, the Burt Reynolds
Dinner Theatre in Florida, and Golden Hills Theatre
in Florida where he was the scenic designer for a production
of Annie Get Your Gun, directed by Joshua Logan.
His scenography exposition “A History of the
American Film – Scenery Design” toured the
USA and Canada for three years with the 2nd Biennial
Scenography Exposition of USITT. Solo exhibitions of
his original stage designs have been given invitational
expositions at many universities, and at the USITT Texas
Design Showcase Retrospective. He presented many papers,
served on panels, and served as a speaker at SWTC, USITT,
ATA, and TETA. He served as the Chair of the USITT National
Conference in 1996, the president of SWTA, and was elected
a SWTA Fellow in 1994.
He passed away prematurely in December of 2002. His
widow, Charlene, still lives near TCU in Fort Worth,
and is active in the TCU Fine Arts Guild.
While an undergraduate at KSTC in Emporia, he earned
the lifelong nickname “Woody,” a friendly
derivative of his first name, “Forrest.”
At his memorial service at TCU, a grateful former student
claimed: “Dr. Newlin could teach a rock to draw.”