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Alumna, Amanda Rosas, Is Acting Out

Called To The Stage? 

Acting out is a good thing.

Amanda Rosas found her calling at Phoenix College with the help of Dr. Geoffrey Eroe (now retired). She spent her time at Phoenix College immersed in theater. She was drawn to the idea that VR (virtual reality) could change the way theater companies -large or small scale- could perform and rehearse. Dr. Eroe was the instructor that made a difference in her choice of study when she went to NAU and gave her the tools to begin developing virtual reality drawings of stage sets. “He got me into the design aspect of things and inspired me to pursue VR. He gave me a lot of the stylistic elements that I now use in my designs,” said Rosas.

As Rosas went on to study design and technology at NAU, her dream began to grow into a product. With the experience of being both a performer and set designer for her entire collegiate career, Rosas decided that she’d design her own efficient, cost-effective and user-friendly virtual reality program. She has used her 10-plus years of experience to develop virtual reality programs for theater productions that stemmed off her experience here at Phoenix College and was completed at NAU. “My capstone project was virtual reality for theater which was inspired by Dr. Eroe because he had been talking about the intersection of theater and technology,” said Rosas.

Rosas has since developed a virtual reality experience that can be viewed on a phone. The VR headset that attaches to the phone is a grand total of eight dollars which means it’s easily accessible and extremely cost-effective for large theater groups. Rosas designs the stage and is able to better communicate the theater production which makes an impact in performance. “On theaters like Broadway,” said Rosas, “you don’t get to see your set or the stage until a week or two before the performance or dress-rehearsal week.” With such a tight schedule of performances at most theater venues across the country, performers seldom have the time to familiarize themselves with the stage and set. This is a crucial part to the quality of performance -the interaction of the performers with props, stage settings, etc. which is why Rosas has devoted her time developing virtual reality for theater. “This is where virtual reality comes in handy because you can simulate the space itself and put the scenery in it too,” said Rosas. 

Rosas gave back to PC this past spring by designing the set for Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson with her virtual reality program. “It was a really fantastic department and I liked getting to work with everyone which is why I came back,” said Rosas.

Though her professional life grows, she hasn’t lost touch with the Phoenix College and is considering coming back to teach because of the difference Dr. Eroe made in her schooling that has now carried on to her professional career. 

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