John Soane, the architect who designed the Bank of England’s headquarters, accumulated many antique items using his great wealth during his lifetime. At his death, he donated these to Parliament on the condition that these items would not be moved.
A portrait of Soane resides in the house of Jeff Stegall, a faculty member in the department of theatre. Stegall said he connects to Soane. If one were to step into his office in the Fine Arts building, one would see why. Filled with memorabilia and interesting items, Stegall’s office speaks to Stegall’s career, life and interests.
Stegall attended Welch College in Gallatin, Tennessee, for his undergrad degree. There, Stegall began to get involved in drama. “[I] was sort of exposed to fine arts like I had never been exposed before,” Stegall said.
Stegall said he hadn’t really heard of BJU until he met one of the faculty members at Welch who graduated from the University. Later, after Stegall finished his undergrad, he taught alongside several BJU grads at a Christian school in Raleigh. “They said, ‘If you’re interested in drama, you should go to Bob Jones [University],’” Stegall said. “So I came [and] got a graduate assistantship in 1985.”
Before finishing his graduate degree at BJU, Harold Whittington, a former scene designer at the University, asked Stegall if he would ever be interested in design. “I don’t know why he said that,” Stegall said.
After this comment, though, Stegall decided to study costume and scene design at the University of Oklahoma.
Illustrations from the magazines Vanity Fair and Spy hang on Stegall’s office wall. These drawings are used to teach students when they paint clothing for costume design.
As a production designer, Stegall said he likes to hunt through thrift shops and flea markets. Even if a prop doesn’t fit a production he is currently working on, Stegall said he picks up interesting items for future needs.
“I love old things,” Stegall said.
An old violin case, given to Stegall by Dr. Bruce Cox from the Division of Music, rests in his office in case its old-time gangster look would work as a funny bit in a production by Summer Shakespeare, a theatre group founded by Stegall which finished its 20th season this past summer.
Stegall has directed multiple Shakespeare plays and attended The National Shakespeare Conservatory in New York City after his time at the University of Oklahoma. Framed 19th century Shakespeare etchings display his love of the bard in his office.
In addition to props and illustrations for teaching, Stegall also has several pieces of memorabilia from on-campus productions he’s worked on, including production photos of the casts and promotional posters. Stegall estimates he’s worked on over 100 productions since returning to BJU.
“It’s been a wonderful place for a Christian to do theatre and to not have to worry about compromising,” Stegall said.
Stegall said his wife and his daughter both have a gentle way of telling Stegall that they don’t want an item to furnish their home.
“’That would look so good in your office,’” Stegall said. “That’s code speak for, you know, I’m not interested in it.”