Larry WheelerDept Head: Theatre; Associate Professor of Theatre College of Fine Arts
- Bachelor of Arts, Theatre, Communications, Education, Austin College, 1969
- Master of Arts, Biblical Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983
Larry Wheeler, associate professor of theatre, university theatre technical director, and theatre department chair, received his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre, communications, and education from Austin College and a Master of Arts from Dallas Theological Seminary with advanced study at Trinity University/Dallas Theatre Centre and Texas Tech University. Wheeler has been honored by being named a Cullen Professor, Faculty Member of the Year, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, Who’s Who in American Education, International Who’s Who of Professionals, the HSU Provost Award and is a member of Alpha Psi Omega National Dramatic Honor Fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, Texas Educational Theatre Association, and Texas Non-Profit Theatre Association. He has been recognized by his students by having been awarded the “Awesome Advisor” Award for the past 4 years. He is a member of the board of directors for Abilene Community Theatre and Abilene Live Theatre. He and his Stagecraft Class recently designed, build, painted and installed a new stage and audience seating platforming for the ACT laboratory theatre.
Following service in the United States Navy as a communications technician, Wheeler began his university teaching career at Wayland Baptist University as instructor, technical director, and chair of the theatre department. He has been at Hardin-Simmons since 1988, coming as assistant professor and theatre technical director. As technical director, he is responsible for the design and installation of all theatrical sets, lights, and sound for all theatre productions. His academic responsibilities include teaching stagecraft, lighting, set and costume design classes, theatre management, theatre appreciation and theatre workshop classes. In 2004 he became theatre department chair. He also serves as technical director for Behrens Chapel/Auditorium, where he assists in the production of many events, including All-School Sing, Orchestra and Band Concerts, chapel services, summer programs, and the many other events held in that facility. Wheeler has served as designer and technical director for many of the HSU operas produced on campus and at The Paramount Theatre. He has also designed and built sets for FBC Albany Nativity drama and FBC Anson Christmas drama at the Anson Opera House. He frequently assists community organizations such as The National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature and The Grace Museum with projects that require his expertise in lighting and set design.
Second only to his commitment to Hardin-Simmons Theatre is his involvement in Pioneer Drive Baptist Church, where he serves as a deacon, choir member, choir soloist, and a member of the production staff of the PDBC Easter Pageant. Not only does he sing and act during the biannual productions, he has also designed videographic scenery used in past productions and several of his students apply their expertise in theatrical make-up to this grand production.
While serving as technical director and/or designer in more than 200 productions at HSU, he has also served as director for a production of the musical Cotton Patch Gospel and was in the cast of The Fantasticks and Titanic, the musical. Most recently, he and fellow theatre/music faculty instituted the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre degree in an effort to give students in acting, musical theatre and design/technology, stage management and theatre education a program more suited to their professional goals. That degree program began Fall 2011 and has resulted in the continued growth of the Theatre Department. Wheeler has also spearheaded an effort to give theatre students exposure to the international theatre scene by accepting an invitation from the International Collegiate Theatre Festival to participate in The Fringe performing arts festival in Edinburgh Scotland. Students have presented plays in The Fringe 2012 & 2016 festivals.