Jiyoun Chang, Lighting And Set Designer

Home base: Sunnyside, NY

Current project(s): Crane Story at Cherry Lane Theatre; A Doll House presented by Triad Stage; Troilus and Cressida presented by Oregon Shakespeare Festival in April 2012, moving to the Public.

Most notable achievements:T.1912, a multimedia project at the Guggenheim Museum with artist Dominique Gonzales-Foerster for the 99th anniversary of the Titanic sinking.

When I started in this industry: I studied physics in college in Korea, and after that, I started to act for a children’s theatre company. I went to Yale in 2005, accepted as a lighting designer. Since May 2008, I have been working full-time as a lighting and set designer.

How I got into this industry: My acting career didn’t go well, but I didn’t want to do anything but theatre. I started to take internships at Brooklyn College in order to observe all the professions of theatre industry. One fine day, I walked into a theatre. They were working on Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson. There was a person standing on stage-left in the backyard with a clothes line full of clothes, and a single blue light lit him beautifully. It was so magical. I realized that, if I believed in the magic, I could do the magic, and that was when I decided to become a lighting designer.

Influences: Richard Kearney was my first teacher who taught me lighting. Yale certainly changed my life. Stephen Strawbridge and Jennifer Tipton are very different teachers in the best ways possible. Ming Cho Lee influenced me greatly and really helped me to become a set designer.

Best advice I’ve ever heard: Ming Cho Lee taught me to be relevant to now and to myself, even when the play is in period, or the subject matter seems so remote. Our design and direction of the play can still be relevant to our lives. It helps me to personalize each project.

Favorite thing about the industry: The design and tech process—especially when I am in tech, I am very happy.

Favorite design/programming/technical trick: I cannot always afford to do it, but I like to try one new thing for a show, something I am not familiar with.

Plans for the future: I’d love to find more opportunity for dance and installation art or theatrical musical events.

Other interests/side gigs: Occasionally, I design projections and costumes. I enjoy projection design and learning more about it.

Awards, honors: Opera America Director/Designer Showcase ’09 Finalist; Donald and Zorka Oenslager Fellowship Award

Organizations, memberships: United Scenic Artists Local 829

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