Villanova Engineers Build a Rotating Stage for Footlighters Theatre

Dr. LeRoy Alaways, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and Zheng Rong ME ’12 recently delivered a solid performance for Footlighters Theatre—by building a rotating stage for the non-profit organization.

“The fun part of this project was to learn about the different structural designs that can make the stage stronger, and I also enjoyed learning woodwork tools. Woodwork is new to me and it is very different from the manufacturing practice we did in class,” says Rong.

Based on a successful collaboration with the theatre as part of Villanova’s Annual Day of Service in September, Footlighters could not help but typecast the College of Engineering. After realizing the need for a rotating stage of the caliber befitting a production of “The Wizard of Oz,” Footlighters reached out to the College for assistance. Dr. Alaways and Rong took the lead roles. “I thought it would be nice to help on this project because it is about applying my engineering skills to serve the community,” says Rong.

As the final days approached until opening night, the duo built a rotating stage that could be stored and used for later plays. Not only did the rotating stage amaze the audience with its unique design, but so did the “great and powerful Oz” —played by Dr. Alaways himself.