With his background in engineering, woodworking, and sawmilling, Michael Rancourt has created everything from a parasol that bursts into flames to a totally silent stage elevator for Bennington College productions.
Rancourt's engineering background comes first from his father and next from an apprenticeship where he built and ran machines for molding plastics, including the robotic machines that made the IBM typewriter ball. As a woodworker, he developed an abrasive planer for guitar builders and precision woodworkers, built ultralight canoes, furniture, cabinetry, and several buildings. As an independent sawyer with a portable sawmill, he sawed out hundreds of houses, barns, sheds, log cabins, and lumber for everything from floors to musical instruments to the Mass MoCA project in North Adams, MA. His numerous unique theater projects have included a parasol that bursts into flames, a totally silent stage elevator, a 14-foot-wide Black Widow spider costume, and two baby carriages strong enough to hold college age babies. He is currently building himself a two person, folding wing airplane from a kit. Rancourt was scene shop supervisor at Bennington from 1982 to 1992 and returned as Technical Instructor in Drama Production from 2005-2018.