Deb O


Deb O | Co-Artistic Director

After spending eighteen years working in a General Motors plant building ECUs (electronic control units) in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, Deb O left to pursue an undergraduate degree in theatre design with a minor in studio art and art history at Marquette University.  From there, she was accepted at the Yale School of Drama where she earned an MFA in Theater Design.

Deb O’s extensive scenography training and range of experiences as well as her background in folk art, dance and gymnastics, clowning and mask making, a bit of puppetry have all lent themselves to an innovative approaches to the creation of unique theatrical events.  Deb O has enjoyed intimate, long-term collaborations with theater directors Brian Mertes, Tamilla Woodard, Alex Harvey, Stephen Brackett, GT Upchurch, Lee Sunday Evans of C Town, Sarah Cameron Sunde, Mia Rovegno, Jess K Smith, Jen Wineman and dance-theatre makers Dan Safer of Witness Relocation, Tami Stronach Dance, Sam Pinkleton, and Diane Vanderhei and Tom Thoreson of Footworks Dance Company.  She has also designed numerous memorable special events.

With directors Brian Mertes and Melissa Kievman and The Lake Lucille Project, Deb O has devised and created large-scale, environmental designs for day-long performances of each of Chekhov’s great works.  With playwright/producer Beau Willimon and directors Brian Mertes and Alex Harvey, the project moved to a giant warehouse in Sunset Park, Brooklyn for an epic environmental staging of Lanford Wilson’s Balm In Gilead.

She has designed a number of new works and new musicals.  Such as The Lacy Project, Jihad the Musical, The Daughters, The Deepest Play Ever, F%#king Up Everything, Bubble Boy Magical History Tour and The Material World (one of Time Out New York’s top 10 shows of 2012). She is currently in the rehearsal room helping to develop Light: A Dark Comedy, a project for The New Victory Theater.

Deb O is a member of the Wingspace design collective and ARTBARN.  She is on the Design Faculty of NYU Tisch’s Playwrights Horizons Theater School, teaches collaboration for the Brown University/Trinity Rep MFA Program, and has given master classes at Marquette, Fairmont University and Meredith College.  She is a recipient of Yale’s Jay and Rhonda Keene Award, has been featured twice at the Prague Quadrennial, and has received numerous American College Theater Festival Awards including Best Designer of the Year. In 2013, her production of Enemy of the People in an abandoned grain factory in Red Hook was chosen as one of the best theater productions in New York.