Designing Her Bright Future


By Troy Watkins

As Madeleine Hebert ’20 directs her crew on the set at the Chester Theatre Company (CTC), it’s clear she doesn’t let her age affect her performance. She has the precision and confidence typically found in someone much older.

Hebert came to Westfield State with an interest in sound design or engineering. She was impressed by the University’s equipment, its campus vibe, and an interaction with Associate Professor of English Heather Crocker Aulenback at an Accepted Students Day.

As a first-year student, Hebert enrolled in a lighting design course, which opened her eyes, widely. “I fell in love with it,” she says. “I love shaping the world of the play and telling a story with light.” Through a scenic designer position with the Student Theater Association during her sophomore year, Hebert designed the scenes and sound and thoroughly enjoyed it, seeking out further opportunities.

She often assists with painting, working, lighting, and sewing projects when a call for assistance comes on campus from theater professors. “I enjoy doing a little bit of everything and learning how everything in the theater works,” she explains.

Following her sophomore year, Hebert landed a summer carpentry and props production intern position with the CTC. There, she built some scenic elements, installed sets, painted, and hunted for props around the Berkshires. “It was a great way to learn and adjust to a non-academic company,” she says.

Daniel Elihu Kramer, CTC producing artistic director, was thrilled with Hebert’s contributions. “From the beginning, she brought both amazing positive energy and strong training to her work at Chester,” said Kramer.

“She made herself invaluable and soaked up everything—learning from professionals.”

Hebert later served as a crew leader at CTC. “There aren’t many college students I would hire to organize work and supervise interns, but Maddy brought maturity, enthusiasm, and skills to her work and performed very well,” Kramer says. “I have no doubt she has a career in theater ahead of her, and I’m proud that we’ll have been a part of it.”

After serving as a lighting and scenic designer last summer for a workshop production of another show, Hebert was approached by the show’s director and asked to work on a production at Cherry Lane Theatre’s studio space in New York City; How We Love/F*ck is a riveting story about sex and female sexuality, and it ran 12 performances last fall. “I worked with the playwright during the process, which was really interesting,” Hebert says.

In January, Hebert attended the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, where she presented several projects in the design, technologies, and management exposition that she had worked on at Westfield State. Her selection as a Region 1 Finalist for sound design earned her a trip to the national conference in Washington, D.C., where she met other top undergraduate and graduate sound designers nationwide while attending design workshops and lectures. “It was extremely informative, and the people were incredible,” says Hebert.

On campus, Hebert refers to the University’s Black Box Theatre as her “artistic home” and is heavily involved in the Student Theatre Association, for which she serves as club president. She hopes to continue pursuit of behind-the-scenes theatrical options after graduating in May, applying to regional theater design apprentice programs with a dream of serving as a lighting designer based out of New York.

To see some of Hebert’s impressive work, visit


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