Luke Cantarella 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, Seattle Rep, Asolo Rep, Prince Music Theater, Northlight Theater, Repertory Theater of St. Louis, Rozentheater (Amsterdam), Cleveland Playhouse, 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 projects include All Shook Up (MUNY), Jane Eyre (Center for Contemporary Opera), Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man (Paris Las Vegas), and Follies (Repertory Theater of St. Louis).
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. He works extenstively in the field of design anthropology with his collaborators Christine Hegel and George Marcus. Their Productive Encounters projects have included include 214 Sq. Ft., a mobile motel room developed in coordination with Project Hope Alliance, Trade is Sublime, a three-channel video installation at the World Trade Organization, and their current project, Yes, We’re Open, an fictional storefront that examines gentrification in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
Luke has led workshops in design thinking for anthropologists at the University of California-Irvine, Art Center College of Design (Pasadena) and the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.
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.
Luke has presented papers at Prague Quadrennial 2011 and 2015 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.
Luke joined the faculty at Pace in the fall of 2012 where he is currently the an associate professor of Design. Prior to Pace, Luke ran the M.F.A. program in Set Design at the University of California-Irvine.
He has a lovely daughter named Tosca and a very talented wife, Christine Hegel, a legal and economic anthropologist who teaches at Western Connecticut State University