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Northwestern School of Communication

Eric Southern

Assistant Professor


Eric Southern

Eric Southern is a lighting designer for theater, opera, and dance. Recent projects include: The Good Swimmer, a pop requiem created by Heidi Rodewald, Donna DiNovelli, and Kevin Newbury (BAM Next Wave); After the Blast, Ghost Light, Bull in a China Shop, and The Harvest (Lincoln Center); Sarah Jones' Sell/Buy/Date (Manhattan Theater Club, New York Live Arts); Indian Summer and Pocatello (Playwrights Horizons); Kate Hamill's adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (Primary Stages, HVSF); Buyer and Cellar (Barrow Street Theater, Mark Taper Forum, London and National Tour); The Heidi Chronicles directed by Leigh Silverman (The Guthrie Theater). He is a longtime collaborator with the award-winning theater group 600 HIGHWAYMEN where he has designed The Fever, Employee of the Year, The Record, Empire City, This Great Country, and Everyone is Chanting Your Name.

Eric recently collaborated with composer David Lang on the last installment of his year-long residency at Carnegie Hall by providing a lighting score to the John Cage piece "Fontana Mix." He developed Chromatic, an interdisciplinary performance piece based on the work of Joseph Albers, with Susan Marshall, Jason Treating, and Suzanne Bocanegra which premiered at The Kitchen in the summer of 2016. He previously worked with Marshall and Lang on Play/Pause which was presented at The Kennedy Center and Bam's Nextr wave Festival. His work in opera includes the world premieres of Paul's Case by Gregory Spears directed by Kevin Newbury (Urban Arias, Prototype Festival) and The Secret Agent by Michael Dellaira and directed by Sam Helfrich (The Danny Kaye Playhouse, Avignon Opera House, Armel International Opera Festival).Hello He also collaborated with Helfrich on a fully staged production of Handel's Messiah as well as a semi-staged production of Bach's St. John Passion both with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

Internationally, his designs have been seen in London at the Mernier Chocolate Factory, in Paris at the Pompidou Center and at Park de la Villette, in Avignon at the Avignon Opera House, as well as in Seoul, Greece, Australia, The Netherlands, Hannover, Zurich, and Hungary. In the US, his work has been seen at Lincoln Center, Manhattan Theater Club, Atlantic Theater Company, The Guthrie Theater, Dallas Theater Center, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Westport Country Playhouse, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Baltimore Center Stage, Asolo Rep, Virginia Opera, Portland Center Stage, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, The Arden Theater, The Magic Theater, Kansas City Repertory, and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.


  • MFA Design for Stage and Film, New York University Tisch School of the Arts
  • BFA Theater, New York University Tisch School of the Arts

Recent Awards and Honors

  • OBIE Award Excellence in Lighting Design The Correspondent (Rattlestick Playwrights Theater)
  • NY Innovative Theater Award Nomination for Lighting Design Caucasian Chalk Circle (Pipeline Theater Company)
  • Bessie Award Nomination for Outstanding Production: Employee of the Year (600 Highwaymen)
  • ZKB Zürcher Theaterspektal Patronage Prize award Best Production: Employee of the Year (600 Highwaymen)