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Artist In Residence: Robert Brill

La Jolla Playhouse’s New Artist In Residence Program

Evening Edition

Above: KPBS arts reporter profiles Robert Brill, the La Jolla Playhouse's first Artist in Residence.

From hunting Moby Dick on the high seas to battling pink Robots, designer Robert Brill has been creating breathtaking work for San Diego audiences for decades. Now he’s the La Jolla Playhouse’s new Artist in Residence.

Robert Brill is a set designer with deep roots in San Diego. He co-founded and worked at the innovative Sledgehammer Theater, designed the sets for "The Killer Tomatoes Eat France" (yes that was mostly shot right here in town), and he has a long history with the La Jolla Playhouse. In fact, if you have attended La Jolla Playhouse productions such as "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots," then you’ve been dazzled by the work of set designer and UCSD graduate Robert Brill. Brill has designed more than a dozen Playhouse productions including the current "His Girl Friday," which was directed by the Playhouse's artistic director Christopher Ashley.

"So our set designer Robert Brill is this year our very first artist in residence here at La Jolla Playhouse," states Ashley, "which we are delighted to have him, he’s not only designing His Girl Friday but also Sideways and with us throughout the year and teaching at UCSD and going to be meeting the audience so he’s going to be a full service artist here with La Jolla Playhouse. I picked him to begin with partly because of his history and partly because he’s a passionate, articulate, talented defender and advocate for the art."

Brill is pleased with the honor, "I would hope that because I’ve had a history with the Playhouse and I’ve worked at a lot of theaters around the country of all different scales from alternative theater to regional theaters to commercial theaters, Broadway Theaters, opera companies, that that varied experience, hopefully will help to inform the projects here at the Playhouse and kind of allow me to give some of that perspective to how season planning or also their relationship with their artists and… so that the, it’s not just about the work that happens on stage but the process and the process of creating work gets stronger. So it’s multifaceted and it gives me an opportunity to work with the artistic staff and the administration in a way that I’ve never really had a chance to be a part of. So it’s a great opportunity and I look forward to it."

You can see Brill’s set design for "His Girl Friday" through June 30 at the Playhouse's Mandell Weiss Theater.

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