David Bruns


Theatre Administration, Arts Administration

April 27, 2021 10:04 AM

1. How do you combine your love of business and the arts?

To me, business and technical theatre both use the same logic, in that they are both technical fields and require that analytical thinking. I am someone who has always enjoyed the technical thinking process, but art has always been an undercurrent in my life. Now I am at a stage where I am able to blend the two into a career that is theatre focused, and one where I can both engage in design while embracing the technical side of the art, and the technical side of business. 

2. What opportunities at Millikin helped you decide that graduate school is the next step for you?

My interest in lighting really peaked in the Spring of last year. I was working on the shows at Pipe Dreams and those experiences showed me that I wanted to pursue lighting. Unfortunately, Covid stopped the productions, but it left me with a hunger to learn more and revealed to me that lighting design is what I wanted to do in the future. Throughout this year, my work at Kirkland has continued to prove that lighting is what I want to do and due to me discovering it so late in my undergraduate experience, I wanted to further my discovery in graduate school.

3. What experiences at Millikin opened doors to your future career path?   

The main experience at Millikin that opened doors to my future career path is my job at Kirkland Fine Arts Center. I started there as a backstage crew member because I simply needed a job, but as I worked there, I quickly discovered a love for technical theatre and working backstage. I applied to be a Stage Manager and that allowed me to explore lighting and sound in more depth, leading me to start my interest in lighting. This past year, I have also been able to serve as the main lighting designer for the percussion concerts held in Kirkland and the lighting designer for the opera workshop that was held recently. I credit these experiences as what has helped me get into graduate school, and these experiences have solidified the fact that lighting design is what my passion is.


(Example lighting designs of live events by David Bruns)

4. Can you describe your work and contribution to Pipe Dreams and how you view that experience?

My main work with Pipe Dreams has been working to revitalize their financial accounting and reporting system and to bring them up to GAAP standards. I have gone through and updated their financial statements from the past several years, and am currently working on implanting software to allow for easier record keeping and am working on creating financial projections for the next 5 years. I am grateful for this experience because even though lighting design is my main passion, accounting is still something I value and enjoy doing. At the end of the day, I want Pipe Dreams to continue being successful and a large part of that is having correct and up-to-date financial records.

5. What else would you like to add?

Pursue those opportunities that might not seem like much. I applied to Kirkland out of just needing a job, but I ended up making a career out of it. Having that open mind allowed me to discover my true passion. I also want to add, keep exploring your passion even though it may seem like you won’t get opportunities to actually do it. I got into lighting just before a global pandemic hit and canceled everything live, however, I stuck through it and learned as much as I could from books and online. In the fall, I started to get opportunities to design at Kirkland, at Renaissance Church here in Decatur, and then this spring, I was finally able to design my first play at Pipe Dreams.