Justin Townsend

Arts Professor

Headshot

Justin Townsend is an educator and international designer for performance. These twin vocations have formed the core of his professional identity throughout his twenty-five year career. A Tony Award winner, he has designed well over two hundred and fifty shows, spent fifteen years teaching in graduate and undergraduate settings, and served as a guest artist at educational theaters all over the country. His work thins the wall between academic and professional pursuits, allowing fundamental aspects of each to influence and inform the other. His innovations incorporate cutting-edge technology, reimagining raw theater tools, and an intimate investigation of modern aesthetics into both his career and classroom. 

His professional lighting design work includes such productions as: Moulin Rouge! The Musical (Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award); Jagged Little Pill (Tony Nomination); American Psycho (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Henry Hewes Award); The Humans (Tony nomination, Drama Desk Award); Here Lies Love, (Drama Desk Award, Public Theater); Vietgone, (MTC); Pretty Filthy, (Civilians); Mr. Burns, a Post Electric PlayMilk Like Sugar, (Playwrights Horizons); Odyssey, A Winter’s Tale, (Public Works at the Delacorte Theater); Venus, (Signature Theater); Unnatural Acts, Mother Courage, and Galileo (Classic Stage Company).

As a creative director, Justin collaborated with Grammy-winning recording artist Drake, designing a 50 foot tall replica of the top of the CN Tower for Drake's OvO Fest in Toronto. The two also paired up for 2017’s “Boy Meets World” European tour.  Set Design work includes designs on and off Broadway as well as in the regional theater.  He collaborates with directors Elena Araoz, Nancy Keystone, Lear Debessonet, and Brooke O’Harra.  Justin received an Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design in 2014.