Design & Production Emeritus Faculty

Design & Production Emeritus Faculty

John A. Sneden, Dean Emeritus (1970)

M.A./A.B. UNC Chapel Hill. Graduated Phi Beta Kappa, the Order of the Golden Fleece and the Order of the Old Well. Professor of Drama and Design, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. Director of Theatre, Davidson College. Designer, Arrow Rock Lyceum, the State Theatre of Missouri. Eight years as resident designer for the East Carolina Summer Music Theatre. Designer, the Cape Playhouse, Dennis, Mass. Board of Directors, North Carolina Scenic Studios Inc. The founding dean of the School of Design & Production, he developed the school into a highly respected and rigorous professional training program, and served as its dean for 32 years.

In 2015, the UNCSA Board of Trustees granted him an Honorary Doctorate degree in recognition of his life work.

Joe Tilford, Dean Emeritus, School of Design and Production; Professor Emeritus, Scenic Design Concentration

Joe Tilford came to UNCSA in 2003 to become the dean of the School of Design and Production. He served as dean until 2014 when at age 65 he left the deanship to become the first full professor in the history of UNCSA. He taught in the D&P Scenic Design concentration at UNCSA full-time until 2022 when he retired.

Prior to UNCSA, Joe taught in the Stage Design program at Northwestern University from 1990 to 2003 where he had the honor of receiving tenure on appointment. While at Northwestern, he served as director of the Stage Design Program and director of M.F.A. Programs in Theatre. 

Prior to Northwestern, Joe taught design at Wright State University, where he served as head of the Design and Technology Program. Joe started his university teaching career as a visiting assistant Professor at Cornell University. 

During Joe’s deanship, the School of Design and Production at UNCSA underwent significant positive changes: 

With the adoption of rigorous recruiting and evaluation procedures, the enrollment of the school increased from 200 students to over 300 students. By adopting new standards for enrollment and evaluation, the attrition rate of D&P students was reduced from 55% to 15%. New standards of outcome evaluation increased the quality of learning in all areas of design and production training. New levels of support for national and international activities led to students from Design and Production receiving more awards and honors than any other program in the nation. Fundraising made it possible for UNCSA to build a new state-of-the-art costume/wig/makeup facility. Design and Production acquired new custom storage facilities. The D&P curriculum was modernized on both the BFA and MFA levels. The rising level of national esteem for the School of Design and Production led to consistent employment levels of D&P students above 95% upon graduation. And world-class faculty members were recruited, hired, and supported in their careers in D&P.

During his entire time at UNCSA, both as dean and as professor, Joe maintained his artistic career as an active, freelance, professional scenic designer in American professional theatre. As a professional scenic designer, he was honored with a solo retrospective design exhibit as part of the 50th Anniversary Conference of the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, as well as the exhibition of Joe’s scenic design work in the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibit of Stage Design. 

Joe’s professional design career of over 50 years has been such that he is a member of the Distinguished Scenic Designers Forum, a group of ten prominent, late-career, American scenic designers who offer mentoring services to early-career and mid-career scenic designers.

See Joe’s design work at

Diane R. Berg, Emeritus Faculty, Costumes (1986)

M.F.A. UNC Greensboro / B.F.A. (High Honors) West Virginia University. Company Tailor and Costume Shop Manager at Florida’s Asolo State Theatre. Head of the MFA Costume Technology Program at Purdue University. Commissioner of the USITT Costume Design and Technology Commission. United States delegate to the OISTAT World Costume Congress. USITT Fellow of the Institute.

Franco Colavecchia, Emeritus Faculty, Design (1996)

Franco Colavecchia studied stage design and painting at St. Martin’s College of Art, London, and the Slade School of Art, London University. He has taught at Harvard, SUNY-Purchase, Carnegie Mellon, Colgate, and UC San Diego. He has also served as head of scenic design at DePaul University, director of design and production at Opera Company of Philadelphia, and was resident designer and faculty member for 25 years at Juilliard. Mr. Colavecchia has designed more than 100 opera productions for companies including New York City Opera; Lyric Opera, Chicago; Houston Opera; Los Angeles Opera; Music Academy at Lobero; Opera Santa Barbara; Den Norske Opera, Oslo; Monte Carlo Opera House; Wolf Trap, Washington, D.C.; Glimmerglass Opera; Brooklyn Academy of Music; San Antonio Festival; Juilliard; Michigan Opera; and Pacific Opera, Canada.

He has also designed productions on and off-Broadway and in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Ireland as well as for PBS-TV: Carmen, “Live From Lincoln Center” and “La Boheme, Great Performances,” for which he was honored by the Academy of TV Arts and Sciences. Mr. Colavecchia has also been awarded by Artists in the Theatre, British Arts Council and Royal Society for Arts and Industry, United Kingdom.

Martha Dunigan, Emeritus Faculty, Visual Arts (1975)

M.F.A. UNC Greensboro / B.A. Oberlin College. Martha Dunigan taught sculpture, ceramics, and drawing for 26 years at UNCSA. She was also a founding member of Artworks Gallery, the Piedmont Triad's oldest artist-run cooperative gallery. She was the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including being named 1994 Artist of the Year at the Sawtooth Center for Visual Design. She has exhibited in both solo and group shows at galleries and museums in New England and throughout the Southeast. Her work is included in many public and private collections including Wake Forest University, Barclays, Wachovia Bank & Trust, Graylyn Art Center and Mandala Art Center, among others.

In 1999, the sculpture studio where Ms. Dunigan taught for so many years was razed by fire. In July 2001, in recognition of Ms. Dunigan's years of contributions and service to the school and the community, the decision was made to name the new studio in her honor. A bronze plaque of the rising sun, created by Ms. Dunigan's daughter, Breon, also a sculptor, now adorns the west exterior wall of the studio and reads, "Martha Dunigan Sculpture Studio."

In 2001, Artworks Gallery presented the Martha Dunigan Memorial Exhibition, which featured drawings, prints and sculptures from throughout her career before her death in June 2001. In 2002, a more expansive version of the exhibition, Martha Dunigan: A Tribute, traveled to the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) for a run from May through July, and featured 90 works, including woodcuts, monoprints, drawings and sculptures, produced over the course of 35 years.

Clyde M. Fowler, Jr., Emeritus Faculty, Visual Arts (1975)

B.F.A. Virginia Commonwealth University. Studied drawing at the National Academy of Fine Arts and at Art Students League, both in New York. Represented in the 40th annual North Carolina Artists Exhibition, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. One-person and group exhibitions at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Sawtooth Center for Visual Design, Wake Forest University, Weatherspoon Gallery at UNC Greensboro, High Point Theatre Gallery.

Pam Griffin, Emeritus Faculty, Visual Arts/Design (2017)

Pam Griffin has taught Color and Design classes at UNCSA for 34 years, both to high school Visual Arts majors, as well as to theatrical design students in the School of Design and Production. She has also been a faculty member at Syracuse University and Cazenovia College in New York. She earned her B.F.A. from Syracuse University and her M.F.A. from Temple University / Tyler School of Art on a full fellowship, majoring in Drawing/Painting/Photography and Printmaking.

Ms. Griffin has coordinated many projects and creative ventures while at UNCSA. Her teaching revolved around continued refinement and restructuring of the design curriculum and process, with a strong emphasis on personal student empowerment through rigorous lessons involving craft, critique and concept.

Ms. Griffin has exhibited her work at SECCA, the Sawtooth Center, Inter_Section Gallery, Salem College and UNCSA, while continuing her work as a freelance graphic designer and technical illustrator. In addition, she volunteers with numerous community non-profits, which focus on assistance to the homeless, and animal welfare and rescue.

Mark Pirolo, Emeritus Faculty, Design (1972)

B.F.A. (Honors) Carnegie Mellon University. Designer: National Educational Television Biography Series; Pittsburgh Playhouse; Great Lakes Theater Festival; Theatre-by-the-Sea, Portsmouth, N.H.; North Carolina Dance Theatre; North Carolina Shakespeare Festival; PlayMakers Repertory, UNC Chapel Hill; Folger Theatre; Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Utah Shakespearean Festival. Recipient: Denver Drama Critics Award, Best Costumes. Helen Hayes Award nomination, Best Costumes. Interim Dean of School of Design & Production, 2002–03. 

Christine Turbitt (1974)

M.F.A. UC Irvine / B.A. UC Berkeley. Christine Turbitt is originally from Northern California, but has lived in North Carolina for over thirty years. Ms. Turbitt’s designs have been seen onstage at UNCSA in many productions including “La Sylphide,” “Kiss Me, Kate,” “The Coronation of Poppea,” “Too Clever By Half” and “Topdog, Underdog.”

Ms. Turbitt’s clothes are also seen frequently at the Georgia Shakespeare Festival (where she is an associate artist), including those designed for “The Miser,” “Saint Joan,” “Comedy of Errors,” “What the Butler Saw,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “Metamorphoses” and “Merchant of Venice.” At neighboring Alabama Shakespeare Festival, she has costumed “When We Are Married,” “King Lear” and “Sheppey.” She has also designed clothes for more than 20 productions at North Carolina Shakespeare Festival, almost that many for the Monomoy Theatre on Cape Cod and at many others at various theatres and universities up and down the East Coast. Ms. Turbitt has worked for Colorado Shakespeare Festival (draper, 1992), Great Lakes Theater Festival (costume shop manager, 1983) and Santa Fe Opera (apprentice, 1975; first hand, 1976-77; draper, 2002).