Artists in Residence & Guest Speakers

Keeping the theatre in Theatre Projects matters to us.

Theatre Projects was created by working artists. In our early days in London, it was common for actors, designers, directors, and producers—Hal Prince, Tony Walton, Lawrence Olivier—to just turn up at our office. These impromptu visits inspired us and kept us connected to the art and the artists. 

Recognizing the importance of learning from industry leaders, we’ve created a guest artist program where we invite a range of performing arts professionals to talk to the Theatre Projects team about the trends and challenges in today’s industry. The program reminds us to pay attention to why we design and build these arts spaces that we love so much. We listen to the challenges facing modern theatre-makers so we can understand the hurdles our clients deal with every day. And most importantly, these artists inspire and motivate us to continue creating extraordinary spaces. 

Staying connected to a vibrant, living arts scene is how we keep our work fresh and insightful. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, and we get to work with some really cool people!

Chris Conti

Guest Speaker

When it comes to putting on a highly complex show, Chris knows exactly what it takes to get everything set up and running. He's worked on seven Super Bowl halftime shows as well as multiple tours with some of the world’s biggest music groups including U2, Coldplay, Fleetwood Mac, and Guns N’ Roses. His experience of working on ambitious and tech-heavy productions in large-scale touring venues gave us valuable insights into how good venue infrastructure, site plans, circulation, and support spaces are key to setting up a show quickly and efficiently.

Donald Fraser

Guest Speaker

Award-winning composer, conductor, and producer, Donald Fraser, has loved music for as long as he can remember. The pursuit of his passion has taken him on a journey from choir boy to composition student at London’s Royal College of Music and from resident composer at the Old Vic Theatre to artistic director and conductor of the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Donald talked to us about the advantages of understanding all the granular details and individual roles in an organization to maximize collaboration and achieve creative goals. That, and never saying ‘no’ to new and interesting projects.

Mimi Lien

Guest Speaker

Mimi Lien is a MacArthur fellow and the set designer behind award-winning productions like An Octoroon, A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, and the new-to-Broadway hit Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. Her bold, immersive designs work with the architectural canvas of a performance space to immerse the audience in the story from the moment they step through the door. She talked to us about how the intimacy and flexibility of a theatre shapes the creativity of her work—and ultimately the emotional connection the audience makes with the performance.

Gene O’Donovan

Guest Speaker

Tony Award-winning production manager and founder of Hudson Scenic Studio and Aurora Productions, Gene O'Donovan needs no introduction. He worked his way through the ranks from driver and carpenter, to shop owner, technical director, and eventually production manager for countless hit Broadway shows including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, A Few Good Men, and Book of Mormon. Gene’s conversations with us about the obstacles involved in getting a show off the ground reinforced our belief that thoughtful and informed theatre design is a production team’s best friend.

Michael Ross

Guest Speaker

With more than 20 years in the theatre industry, Michael’s seen it all. He’s been the managing director of Center Stage in Baltimore and the Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut, the producer and managing director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, and a fundraiser and strategic planner for several other theatres across the US. Few people have such a well-cultivated perspective on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in theatre. His experience and lessons learned are invaluable to us in creating dynamic and indispensable performance spaces for communities.

Howard Shalwitz

Artist in Residence

As Woolly Mammoth Theatre's Artistic Director, Howard is a former client and was already familiar with our work when he agreed to be our first Artist in Residence. His experience helps us anticipate evolving trends and guides us in future-proofing spaces. Howard says, "Woolly Mammoth's new facilities expanded our ambition and impact, and allowed our artistry to grow in boundless new directions. I'm excited to contribute to Theatre Projects' work and hope my experience as an artistic leader can add value to the great work they're doing in creating distinctive new performance venues around the world."

Betty Siegel

Guest Speaker

Since her arts career began more than 30 years ago, Betty has been working to make cultural facilities more accessible for everyone. As Director of VSA and Accessibility at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and the leading force behind the Leadership Exchange in Arts and Disability Conference, she’s an expert in the legal, ethical, technological, design, and financial aspects organizations must consider to make venues more inclusive. Betty offered her insight and wisdom to help us better understand how to create theatres that accommodate all people.