Text Only Skip to content
Skip header navigation.
Skip sub-section linksSTLCC Home » College News » 2009 » April » STLCC-Meramec Student Creates Dinosaur For Class Project

STLCC-Meramec Student Creates Dinosaur For Class Project

April 29, 2009

Nicki Conaway with Dinosaur  

Nicki Conaway and her Theatre Practicum project, “Lola,” on the
set of Pterodactyls.

For Nicki Conaway, a student at         St. Louis Community College-Meramec, school projects are a big deal—a VERY BIG deal. As part of a Theatre Practicum course, Conaway created “Lola”, a 12-foot dinosaur skeleton for the set of the Meramec Theatre production, Pterodactyls.

Conaway worked closely with award-winning set designers Darren Thompson and Rick Wilmore of the Theatre Department to plan and complete the project. She used large blocks of Styrofoam and special sculpting tools to create the skeletal pieces. [We] “started talking about the dinosaur before the end of spring semester of 2008. I just didn't know how difficult and time consuming it would be,” Conaway said.

Conaway had plenty of guidance and support, but, she said, “they let me work my problems out myself. I could only blame myself when things went wrong. I was able to make my own due dates, work at my own pace and concentrate on what I thought needed more time and effort,” explained Conaway. “The Practicum was a real life experience that made me see what it would be like to be an actual scenic artist and work with the director, technical director, and shop workers who were constantly working around me.”

Michelle Rebollo, Pterodactyls director and head of the Meramec Theatre Department expressed her admiration for Conaway’s dedication to the project: “She really worked hard and was under the pressure of having to produce a critical set element for the play. I was also thrilled to see Nicki use our Theatre Practicum course to gain hands-on experience, really working as a professional within our theatre.” Rebollo said that many students and patrons commented on her artistic skill. “They were impressed that a student was able to receive academic credit along with pragmatic experience in the theatre."

Conaway recommended the Theatre Practicum experience, but advised any student who was considering it to set aside at least five hours a week to devote to their practicum. “It was well worth the credit and the experience to be involved in my practicum,” she said, and added that she is considering doing another practicum in the fall. After that, Conaway will transfer to Missouri State University in the spring of 2010 to work towards a B.A. in Art Education with a minor in Theatre.