London, United Kingdom
For 15 years Michael Spencer was responsible for leading what was the Bachelor of Arts theatre 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 runs the MA performance design and practice course.
In 1991 Spencer became the first person in the U.K. to receive an MA in theatre 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 & Vindication; and a play based on a mathematical theory, The Anatomy of Integers & 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, attempting to connect those regularly inhabiting a newly created public space to the rapid changes taking place around them. Spencer has presented at U.S. 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.