Theatre alum brings ghostly features to life in world premiere production 

Amaya Rockett stands in a courtyard with a warm glow surrounding her.

In Milwaukee’s recent World Premiere of The Forgotten Girl, production design is more important than ever. Viewers are immersed in the world of the main characters Iris and Daniel as they discover the abandoned grave of a girl in their grade and begin interacting with her ghost. 

Scenic designer Amaya Rockett (BFA 2022, Theatre Production) is the one responsible for creating the world where these features come to life. 

When discussing her approach to design, Rockett and her collaborators used the actors to move the set pieces and scenery around the theater. Those who witnessed the performances in person experienced the “whimsical and eerie feeling” of ghostly presences.  

The Forgotten Girl played in the newly renovated Goodman Hall, a 142-seat in-the-round theater, meaning that the stage was in the middle of the venue with the audience surrounding 360 degrees of the stage. Rockett noted how “the variety of settings meant the design had to be malleable, so we created set pieces that were multi-functional, and it worked well.” 

Rockett’s Peck School education helped pave the way for her work on The Forgotten Girl. During her time with UWM, she worked as a scenic designer on performances of The Laramie Project and The Sparrow. Both productions were in theaters very similar to Goodman, which Rockett credits as forcing her to “think outside the box,” which proved beneficial for her work with First Stage.  

For Rockett, one of the most important aspects of The Forgotten Girl is its rich social commentary, as the story is rooted in themes of segregation and Black heritage. Rockett recognized how she felt immense pride working on this production, crediting First Stage with taking the necessary steps to improve representation on stage:  

“I am always so proud to be a part of shows that can represent Black people… there were so many comments from kids in the show that they were so proud to learn about Black history and present it to an audience.” 

 View production photos and read more about First Stage’s production of The Forgotten Girl on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Story by Jason McCullum ’25