Spotlight: Natalie Robin, Designer


Been a while…today we’re going to talk to New York-based lighting designer Natalie Robin. 

Take it away, Natalie!

I was a dancer from childhood. And then started doing theater in middle school and high school. I thought I wanted to be a director, but I always gravitated towards design. In college, the then head of the theater department encouraged me towards lighting design and I never really left.

I have a BA in English and Theater from Columbia and an MFA from NYU in lighting design. I have also assisted a lot, which I definitely consider part of my training, especially with my mentor Lenore Doxsee, Matt Frey, Tyler Micoleau, Scott Zielinksi and ML Geiger, among others.

I am always really really influenced by visual art. Lately, i have spend a lot of time with photographs from the NY Times. I also try to see as much work as I can. I am really excited about the fall – new operas, shows at BAM, plays at NYTW and the Public – to watch and be inspired by.

I am currently designing (ed. note: this interview was conducted a couple of months ago…whoops!) a site specific melodrama ALICE, OR THE SCOTTISH GRAVEDIGGERS for Polybe + Seats which will be performed in the Old Stone House in Brooklyn, NY, which is a modern reconstruction of the 1699 Vechte-Cortelyou House. I had been worried that the lighting was just going to be about visibility. Instead, in a recent workshop during the hurricane, we discovered a combination of candles and halogen worklights which I think will be both incredible evocative and really supportive of the story.

I just saw THE SELECT, the 3rd of Elevator Repair Service’s literary trilogy (following GATZ, and THE SOUND AND THE FURY. I am continuousely inspired and, to a certain extent, in awe of these highly theatrical performances of literature. The designs (by David Zinn, Mark Barton, Matt Tierney among others) have created a completely real and utterly theatrical world for these texts to live in.

I want people to think of designers as dramaturgs and story tellers. We are there to collaborate and serve and support and create, not just to provide the technical elements of the show.
I also want young designers to get out of the theater box and see the world – see art, read about math, do science experiments. All of our experiences make us the designers we are.

You can find more about Natalie, and contact her, here.

Designers, if you want to be included in one of our Spotlights, contact Jax.

  • October 23, 2011