Presented by Richard K. Thomas. Friday, 15 January 2010, 9:30 am - 11:30 am. EST USA (2.30pm – 4.30pm GMT)



In this presentation we will explore the debate about the evolutionary origins of music and language, and the various theories regarding the origins of theatre. After looking at these independently, we will look the fundamental role that music played in what is generally regarded as the first autonomous theatre, Greek theatre. These origins will serve as an aesthetic foundation establishing the primal role that music plays in all theatre activities.


Rick’s recent projects include a biography about Broadway sound pioneer Abe Jacob, The Designs of Abe Jacob, and leading a team of Visual and Performing Arts students and faculty in the creation of Labcoats on Clouds that premiered at the 2007 Prague Quadrennial in June of 2007. Rick also organized and led a group of artists from Purdue, Germany, Paris, and San Francisco in the performance art piece, Laptop Connections at the Marysakovo Railway Station during the “PQ.” Having composed music and soundscores for the Hong Kong Repertory Theatre, Dublin Theatre Festival and ESPN among many others, Rick’s most recent theatre compositions include An Unkindness of Ravens at Roosevelt University in Chicago in 2007 and Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale at Purdue in 2006. Rick won the Murphy Award for outstanding teaching at Purdue University in 2007 and the USITT Herbert D. Greggs Award for outstanding journal article in 2002. Research interests include playmaking, music composition and sound design for live theatre, and sound system design and engineering.

Sincere gratitude goes to Davin Huston at Kirkegaard Associates and Phil Ingle for helping to make this possible.


Webinar #1 was attended by 128 participants at 35 different locations in 9 Countries.

"I managed to catch quite a bit of Rick’s extraordinarily detailed exposition and would like to express my thanks…many congratulations to all concerned." John Leonard, Sound Designer and Author of Theatre Sound, London

"Thank you so much, Rick, for your beautiful lecture! I understand that it is very difficult to present such complex theme in this short time. But you did it magnificently!" Igor Drevalev, Stage Director/Playwright/Composer, Moscow

"We thought it was great…." Jason Romney, Sound Design Faculty at University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem

"Rick was great." Kate Burnett, Theatre Designer and Reader in Theatre Design, Nottingham Trent University

"Rick did a great job and the material was a pretty good launching point for further discussion." David Budries, Chair of Sound Design Department at Yale School of Drama, New Haven; Sound Designer and
Producer at Sound Situation

"Nice job Rick, it was terrific, lots of food for thought and investigation." Dave
Tosti-Lane, Chair of Performance Production at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle

"Awesome presentation… can't wait to hear some more!" Nela Brown, Sound Artist and Designer, London

"Fantastic!" Karen Lauke, Sound Designer, Edge Hill University, Liverpool