Rob Ross, Lighting Designer
Home base: New York
Current project(s): Programmer for lighting designer Jason Kantrowitz for New World Stages’ Freckleface Strawberry The Musical; lighting designer for Touch at No Rules Theatre.
Most notable achievements: Graduated from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts 2010 with a BFA in Lighting Design; three summers at The Williamstown Theatre Festival as an intern, electrician, and festival production electrician by age 22; attended the Helmsley Portfolio Review in spring 2010; lighting designer of Johan Kobborg’s 2010 world premier of Salute; Lightwright 5 beta-tester.
When I started in this industry: In the 7th grade.
How I got into this industry: I was too afraid to audition for the middle school play, so the teacher suggested I try tech that year and audition the next year. I didn’t audition the next year.
Influences: My middle school teacher, Mrs. Ryan, and my high school theatre teacher, “V.” Without the two of them, I would never be where I am today. I might be in a cubicle somewhere doing paperwork.
Worst advice I’ve ever heard: Not to go to a conservatory for lighting design—a lot of people in high school thought I should go somewhere where I could minor in business or something, so I had something to fall back on when lighting design didn’t work.
Best advice I’ve ever heard: Everything happens for a reason.
favorite thing about the production industry: I love watching the faces of an audience during a live show; this is when all the work I have done finally pays off. This is especially fun in children’s shows.
Favorite design/programming/technical trick: I love playing with color in light. Lighting is like painting; you can trick the viewer’s eye many ways by mixing colors just right.
Plans for the future: Living in New York as a freelance lighting designer.
Other interests/side gigs: I love baseball, skiing, and swimming.
Awards, honors: Several Cappie awards and nominations for set and lighting design through high school.
Organizations, memberships: IATSE. Local 635