Rob Berls

Associate Professor of Drama; Technical Direction, Scenic Design, History
Whitesides Hall, 123 (temporary office)
On Professional Development Leave - Spring 2019

Assistant Professor Rob Berls joined the UNCA faculty in 2005.  Rob’s interests are multiple and varied.  He is a professional scenic, lighting, properties, costume, and sound designer having worked with local theatres including NC Stage, Southern Appalachian Reparatory Theatre, Asheville Community Theatre, and the Diana Wortham youth theatre series, and regional and national theatres including the Summer Circle Theatre, Marshall Civic Theatre, the Livingston Players, the Boarshead Theatre, and the Bowling Green Musical Theatre. 

Rob comes from a long line of carpenters and furniture makers and is currently carrying on the tradition of his family by operating a small business in custom furniture and armor manufacture.  He is a member of USITT (United States Institute for Theatre Technology) and is currently the vice commissioner for Health and Safety for the Scene Design Commission and is co-leader of the national Tech Olympics competition.  He is also the creator and head editor of Theatrical Invention and Innovation; a quarterly journal detailing the inventive spirit and boundless creativity of the modern theatre artist.  Rob is an experienced fight choreographer and martial artist with credits including stage and film.  He is also a professor within UNCA’s Humanities program and is currently developing a new lecture area in ancient technology and weaponry for Hum 124.


  • A.A.  English   Colby Community College
  • B.A. Theatre   Emporia State University
  • M.A. Theatre History   Bowling Green State University
  • M.F.A.  Production Design   Michigan State University


To provide a safe and educational environment for students to explore and gain experience in academic and practical theatre.  The student experience is grounded in traditional craft with inventive and innovative approaches to address the challenges in the present and future.  One must always explore the possibilities and be open to alternative ideas.  Collaboration is the key to a full and vital education.   

Classes Taught

  • Dram 121             Elements I
  • Dram 122             Elements II
  • Dram 244             Theatre History I
  • Dram 245             Theatre History II
  • Dram 220             Scenic Painting
  • Dram 432             Scenic Design
  • Hum 124              The Ancient World
  • Arts 310                Period, Style, and Form
  • Arts 310                Art and the Warrior
  • LISC 179              Art, Combat, and the way of the Warrior