School of Theatre's Verheyen dressed for success

by Robert Schoenberger

Daily Cougar Senior Staff

Put one more feather in the UH School of Theatre's cap: Another faculty member has won a major award.

Associate Professor Claremarie Verheyen has been awarded the University Educator of the Year award from the Texas Educational Theatre Association Inc.

"I was nominated, I believe, because I have stayed so involved with both academic and professional theater," Verheyen said.

Verheyen, UH's principal costume and makeup design instructor, spends summers in New York designing costumes.

Her colleagues at UH and in the theater association praise Verheyen's costumes. Verheyen will be the featured designer at Designfest `96, a designers' convention focussing on theater. The convention began Wednesday and runs through Feb. 4 at the downtown Hyatt Regency, 1200 Louisiana.

Verheyen's school is extremely proud of her achievements.

"I think Ms. Verheyen is one of the best costume designers I have ever seen," said Sidney Berger, director of the School of Theatre. "She is innovative, imaginative and creative."

Although she has taught introductory courses in acting and theater, Verheyen says makeup and costumes are her specialty.

Verheyen's costumes have been seen in several UH productions, and she says each production is a new challenge.

"I usually have one favorite costume in each show," Verheyen said. "A couple of summers ago, we had a huge challenge to design a king-sized dragon that had to move and tap dance.

"I had to get some friends in engineering to design a cooling system for the guy inside," she added.

Verheyen said she is proud of her achievement, but there is still a long way to go.

"I think (the award) is a reflection of the standards of UH," Verheyen said. "I'm in a wonderful program here in the school. I feel I've stepped up to the quality level of the other professors here."

Her boss, on the other hand, said she is just being "very modest."

"There are a number of awards people have gotten in this department," Berger said. "I think Ms. Verheyen has just gotten her first of many."

Students and anyone else interested in seeing Verheyen's work can attend the free gallery walk-through at T.E.T.A.'s convention at the Hyatt, Friday at 11 a.m.

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