Jessica Lynn Hightower is a scenic designer, fabricator, and educator based out of Winchester, VA. Her areas of focus are in scenic design, scenic construction, scenic painting, props fabrication, and media design. She has worked as a designer and fabricator in various venues across Texas, South Carolina, Montana, and Ohio.
Her passion for technical theatre began at a young age, and she quickly fell in love with the transformative magic of scenery. Jessica’s favorite scenic design credits include The Country Wife, The Full Monty, two productions of Sweat, 9 to 5, Everybody, and Gruesome Playground Injuries. She has also designed media for several shows including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Country Wife, and Sweat. Her carpentry, painting, and fabrication experience reaches back into childhood.
As an educator, Jessica has consistently been involved in scenic studios. As early as high school, she began leading crews in carpentry and painting projects. At Sam Houston State she worked in the studio as a student employee and then at The Ohio State University, she worked in the scenic studios as a graduate instructor. She also has extensive experience teaching and caring for children from kindergarten through 8th grade through bible studies, Sunday school, summer camps, and Girl Scouts of America events. Recently, Jessica began training as a lecturer as well and has found joy in this wide variety teaching situations.
Jessica is passionate about inclusivity that focuses on joy rather than resiliency. She has worked closely with differently abled and special needs programs during her time in youth choirs, working as a camp counselor, in educational scenic studios, and in several of her design projects. When working on shows such as The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, she researches and engages the communities represented onstage. She actively seeks scripts for course work that liberates and emphasizes experiences of the global majority. She created a free week long sports camp in 2016 that was focused on providing children with special needs a safe space to experience community, exercise, and professional training. This camp continues to offer approximately 50 spots three times a year. Active inclusivity is essential within her work.
She seeks community involvement and service through active involvement in several organizations. At The Ohio State University, Jessica was a member of the Graduate Theatre Syndicate and served as the MFA representative on the Design Tech Area Committee. She has been a member of USITT since 2017, attending & presenting at national conferences whenever possible. At Sam Houston, Jessica served in the Student USITT Chapter for four years, starting as member then moving into Member at Large, Secretary, then President. In Southwest USITT she served as member for 4 years, Student Director at Large for 2 years, and on the Committee on Communication as Student Representative.
Her design awards include KCACTF National Awards for “Distinguished Production of a Play” and “Outstanding Projection Design,” KCACTF Region 6 Award for “Excellence in Non-realized Scenic Design,” Southwest USITT Awards for “Honorable Mention in Scenic Design” and “Excellence in Media Design,” and USITT Ohio Valley Awards “Ezekiel Award of Distinction” and “Ezekiel Award of Outstanding Achievement.” She has also been part of several Tech Olympic winning teams in the Southwest USITT region. Jessica is the equivalent of an Eagle Scout, having earned her Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards in the Girl Scouts of America.
Other developing research interests include design pedagogy, collaborative relationships, and the use of fabric onstage. She hopes to eventually write a book on designer based collaboration focused on helping early career designers succeed.