Jonathan Spencer

Jonathan Spencer served as Distinguished Lighting Designer at the 70th annual SETC Convention in Knoxville, TN in 2019. He helped adjudicate the Design Competition and participated in the Design Keynotes along with Costume Designer Linda Cho, Sound Designer Victoria (toy) Deiorio and Scenic Designer Riccardo Hernández.

Jonathan Spencer reviews displays in the 2019 Design Competition at the 70th annual SETC Convention in Knoxville, TN. Photo by Caitie McMekin.

Advice to Young Designers

“Perhaps something not said enough to young designers is that, to be really great, you will need to risk revealing yourself in your work. Cultivate the same vulnerability and empathy which we so casually expect of our actors, directors and writers. Open yourself up to their work, to what they are doing, and join them fully in that place. Weep and laugh deeply. Make it personal, and show yourself to us. Cleverness and aesthetics are fine, but they will never resonate with an audience the way that love can.”

Left to right: 2019 Distinguished Designers Jonathan Spencer (Lighting), Riccardo Hernández (Scenic), Victoria "toy" Deiorio (Sound) and Linda Cho (Costume). Photo by Caitie McMekin.

About Jonathan Spencer

Jonathan lives in New York City and Colorado working principally on Broadway, National Touring, Regional, Off-Broadway, and international theatrical productions.  Designs include the current RENT – 20th Anniversary National Tour, Priscilla Queen of the Desert First National Tour, Who’s Holiday – Off Broadway at the West Side Theatre, Grace Notes:  Reflections for Now at The John F Kennedy Center, Yale Repertory Theater, and the Spoleto Festival USA, and You Are Mine Own Directed by Atom Egoyan for the 2018 Spoleto Festival USA.  Jonathan has designed for The New York Public Theater, The Papermill Playhouse, St. Louis Rep, Missouri Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse, Hartford Stage, the Penobscot Theater Co., the Colorado Springs FAC, and others.  His Assistant/Associate credits on Broadway include Wicked, Legally Blonde, Finnian’s Rainbow, Metamorphoses, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, Streetcar Named Desireand others.  Jonathan is the Professor of lighting design at the University of Colorado Boulder and the Southern Oregon University summer Masters of Theater Studies program.  He is a Member of United Scenic Artists local 829, holds a BFA from Southern Oregon University, and an MFA from Ohio University.