Spencer
Professor of Theater and Performance Design, Central Saint Martins
2018 Speaker • 2019 Speaker

London, United Kingdom

For 15 years Michael Spencer was responsible for leading what was the Bachelor of Arts theater design course at Central Saint Martins (the arts and design college within the University of the Arts London) into an expanded field embracing the idea of the designer as auteur. He currently runs the MA performance design and practice course.

In 1991 Spencer become the first person in the U.K. to receive an MA in theater design, which became the catalyst for a teaching career alongside continuing professional practice. This practice, like his teaching, reflects the shift in the role of designer. Recent work includes a site-specific Attempts on Her Life (Martin Crimp, playwright), featuring the simultaneous presentation of the 17 scenes in a disused gas facilities building in Colorado Springs; a devised solo performance triptych, Variation, Verification and Vindication; and a play based on a mathematical theory, The Anatomy of Integers and Permutations (Andrew and Jennifer Granville, playwrights), performed at Princeton University and the University of California Berkeley.

In July 2016 Spencer completed his most recent project, Transformation Exchange, a residency in Granary Square, London N1, attempting to connect those regularly inhabiting a newly created public space to the rapid changes taking place around them. Spencer has presented at United States Institute for Theatre Technology conferences, represented the U.K. at the International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians symposiums in Moscow and Riga, and written articles for the Society of British Theatre Designers journal, Blue Pages.