Luke Hegel-Cantarella

Associate Professor, BFA Production & Design for Stage & Screen

Fundamentals of Scenic Design - BFA Production & Design for Stage & Screen

Luke Hegel-Cantarella joined the faculty at Pace in the fall of 2012 when he was appointed Head of the program in Design and Production for Theater, Television and Film, a dynamic and fast-growing program that promises to become a top-ten destination for design pedagogy within the decade. Since joining the program, Luke has been overseeing the design and construction of a new performing arts building at 140 Williams Street and the foundation of a new BFA program in Production and Design.

"the model of teaching design needs to get away from "this is the one way to design" or even "this is the one way to teach design". We all had great mentor/masters in the 20th century, but if American design is going to remain forward-thinking and relevant for this century, we need to change modes. We need an emergent curriculum, one that changes year-by-year as we have new students, new technologies, and new needs in the culture. We need to break away from false dichotomies about high and low culture. We need to ask ourselves why the gulf between European and American theater practice? We need occupy the university as a place not just for training, but as a place with a primary goal of art and knowledge production."

Prior to Pace, Luke ran the program in Set Design at the University of California-Irvine.

Artistically, Luke works primarily as a theatrical stage designer. He has designed over one hundred productions including work for the theater, opera, dance, film, television and commercial design. Theaters he has worked at include the Atlantic Theater Company, American Repertory Theater, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Yale Rep, Prince Music Theater, Northlight Theater, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Rozentheater (Amsterdam), Lyric Theater of Oklahoma, Berkshire Theater Festival, TheaterWorks, Barrington Stage Company, Adirondack Theater Festival, CITY Theater, HERE, Synapse Productions, Theaterworks USA, New World Stages, and many others. He has designed operas for Wolftrap, Curtis, Peabody and the New England Conservatory of Music. Dance companies Luke has worked for include The Wooden Floor, REDCAT, Sens Productions/Whitney Biennial, Hartford Ballet and the Eastern Connecticut Ballet. In addition, Luke was the associate designer for the Broadway production of Dracula, designed by Heidi Ettinger. Current work includes Woody Sez (A.R.T., Northlight, Theater J), Don Giovanni (Baltimore Lyric/Peabody Institute), Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man (The Village Theater), Time Stands Still (TheaterWorks) and The Sacre Project, a radical re-construction of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (xMPL/Samueli Theater/Pacific Symphony).

Film and television credits include Art Directing the Emmy-Award winning series Damages (season 2), as well as work on Julie & Julia, The Accidental Husband, Synecdoche, NY, State of Play, and Pink Panther 2. With his colleague Adrian Jones, he was designed display advertising for Grand Marnier/LVMH, TekServe and Smithson of Bond Street.

Luke's creative work often extends beyond the theater. Recent projects include 214 Sq. Ft., a meta-site for anthropology relating to the motel families of Orange County developed with Christine Hegel, the Center of Ethnography at UCIrvine, and the Project Hope Alliance. He also co-created the installation The Flocktree with his brother Jason Cantarella, a mathematician specializing in knot theory, supported by Ideas for Creative Exploration in Athens, Georgia. Luke’s paintings have been exhibited at the Around the Coyote Festival (Chicago) and the Union League Gallery (Chicago), which presented his series of paintings, the Potsdam Project.

His paper Originality, Autonomy & Control was presented at the Prague Quadrennial 2011 as part of the IFTR Scenography Working Group.

Luke received his M.F.A. from the Yale School of Drama in 2000. He completed his undergraduate work at Northwestern University, where he earned a B.S. in Speech in 1994. In addition Luke has studied at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, The Art Students League, and The Drawing Center.

Awards include a Joseph Jefferson Citation (Best Set Design – Stalag 17), nomination for a Kevin Kline Award (Bomb-itty of Errors), Donald S. Oenslager Award for Excellence in Set Design, Oenslager Fellowship, grants from Ideas for Creative Exploration and a CORCL Multi-Investigator Grant (UCI). Luke was finalist for the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Designers.