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Graduate Spotlight

Garrett Bell, MFA Theatre: Lighting Design, 2020

Garrett Bell (MFA Lighting Design, 2020) is a lighting designer with a passion for creating new worlds onstage. In his designs, Garrett strives not only for bold looks, but to collaborate in the making of moments that are visually compelling, emotionally vivid, and conceptually cohesive. 

Garrett joined the graduate program in the Department of Theatre at Purdue after completing his undergraduate studies in 2017 at College of Charleston, majoring in theatre lighting and scenic design and technology, and studio art photography. Since joining the Purdue University Department of Theatre, he has distinguished himself both artistically and academically, designing numerous mainstage productions and dance performances, mentoring undergraduate design and production students, and being awarded placement in the 2019 ETC Fred Foster Student Mentorship Program.

Recognizing the importance of mentorship in alighting designer’s professional career, ETC (Electronic Theatre Controls) has sponsored students at LDI (Live Design International) for the past twenty years, connecting them with the industry’s brightest talent. This initiative, the Fred Foster Student Mentorship Program, is designated to seven students from around the globe who receive an all-expense paid trip to Las Vegas with a full LDI conference pass. In addition to networking with seasoned lighting professionals at the show, each student will be paired with a mentor to contact for support, advice, and encouragement the following year and beyond.

“Garrett’s wit and sensitivity have helped to make this lighting program what it is, and I greatly look forward to his amazing career.” – Faculty mentor Michael McNamaraGarrett has designed the lighting for four mainstage productions at Purdue University Department of Theatre: Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches; These Shining Lives; By the Way, Meet Vera Stark; and The Beaux' Stratagem, as well as numerous dance performances in the Division of Dance. He has built an impressive professional portfolio over his career, having designed lighting for Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Madison Street Theatre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Richmond Shakespeare, Yale University, College of Charleston, PURE Theatre, and Washington Ave Players.

During his time at Purdue, Garrett completed assistantships in both the classroom as an educator, as well as at the Hall of Music. He is noted for his high level of standards, his patience, and eagerness to tackle new challenges. His faculty mentor Michael McNamara notes that not only did Garrett gain knowledge and practice during his graduate studies, but also that his confidence and leadership qualities grew substantially over three years.

Garrett has a passion for photography, videography, and scenic design in addition to lighting. We invite you to take a look at some of his work below, and to visit his online portfolio at Congratulations, Garrett!