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Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Scooby Doo greets Kings Island attendees. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Scooby Doo greets Kings Island attendees. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

40 Years in the Making: Alumnus Returns for His Degree

In 1976, Randall Kent was in his senior year at CCM when he left school to focus on working full time at his own company, Stagecraft, Inc. Forty years later, he returned to finish his studies and earn a BFA in Costume Design and Technology.

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Randall Kent with his former students from McAuley High School who are now studying at CCM. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent is the Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School and continues to serve as President and CEO of Stagecraft, Inc. With his company, Kent has created character costumes and mascots for amusement parks, sports teams, movies and universities. As a student, he created the UC Bearcat costume that was used from 1975 to 2006.

Kent’s passion for costume design began in the summer of 1972 at the Kings Island amusement park. He performed daily in the park’s classic Hanna-Barbera costumes, which were “old, hot and in disrepair,” Kent remembers.

He began studying technical theatre at CCM that fall and returned to Kings Island with the skills he learned in class. Kent took apart the park’s costumes and made new designs, turning 10 old costumes into 30 new costumes — from Scooby Doo and Yogi Bear to The Banana Splits.

In 1975, former ice hockey team the Cincinnati Stingers reached out to Kings Island for a referral company that could design and build a new mascot. Kent created the Stinger Bee “Slapshot” mascot through Stagecraft, Inc. and launched his professional career.

The business was so successful that Kent left CCM a year after Stagecraft, Inc. began. The company created costumes for Disney, Six Flags, Universal Studios and universities from Maryland to Oregon. Stagecraft’s mascot costumes were featured in films such as The Waterboy, The Program and Old School. The company most recently created character costumes for Mentos Gum, Miami Savings Bank, Walnut Hills High School and Roger Bacon High School.

Kent’s costumes in McAuley High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent’s costumes in McAuley High School’s production of “Beauty and the Beast.” Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Kent’s passion led him to teaching when he followed his daughter to McAuley High School 12 years ago. He began volunteering as the school’s Technical Theater Director, which later became a paid position. Kent oversaw the costume design for the school’s productions of Beauty and the Beast and Mary Poppins, both of which won Cappie awards for best costumes.

Kent made an immediate connection with his students, who ultimately inspired him to go back to school. He returned to CCM to finish the degree he left behind 40 years previously and graduated in December 2016 with a BFA in Costume Design and Technology.

Three of his students from McAuley High School joined Kent in his last semester; two are in CCM’s costume design program and one is in the stage design program. Ironically, they were in the same technical theatre class together at CCM.

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

Randall Kent and his students at the Cappie Awards. Photo provided by Randall Kent.

“It seemed quite natural that we be in class together and quite rewarding for me that I could have that kind of effect on my students,” Kent says. “I hope to send more to CCM in the future.”

After he graduated from CCM, Kent jumped back into his role as Technical Theater Director at McAuley High School. He and his students designed and built everything from the costumes to the set for the school’s musical All Shook Up, which ran April 7-9. The show was nominated for 24 Cappie awards, including best costumes.

Kent plans to continue to grow his passion for theatre at the high school and Stagecraft, Inc.

“Getting that piece of paper was very rewarding and made me feel like I had come full circle,” Kent says of his degree from CCM. “It validated me as a artist and business man. It also ensured that I could teach as the teacher of record.”

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