With fifteen years of experience working on stages ranging from exploratory storefront theaters in Chicago to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC, Non-Equity Jeff Award Nominated and BroadwayWorld Chicago Award Nominated Lighting Designer, Eric Van Tassell is a lighting designer who loves collaborating with passionate teams to create engaging work.
Eric earned his MFA in Lighting Design & Technology from the University of Illinois where he graduated with Departmental Distinction, an honor voted on by all theatre department faculty. Through his extensive work at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, he has worked on large scale productions and festivals including serving as the master electrician for the Colwell Playhouse Theater during Illinois High School Theatre Fest in 2017 and serving as the lighting director for the American College Dance Association (ACDA) Central Region Festival in 2018.
For the past two summers Eric has supplemented his lighting design work by serving as the production manager for Hope Summer Repertory Theater (HSRT) in Holland, Michigan. HSRT is a professional theater company on the campus of Hope College that hires 100 actors, technicians, designers, and directors from across the country to produce at least five shows on three stages. Managing a technical staff of this size is a challenge that he relishes. While HSRT hires working professionals, they are also intrinsically connected to their academic roots. Eric is a fervent believer in empowering young theater practitioners as they find their fit in this industry.
Prior to graduate school, Eric's artistic home in Chicago was the recently closed Oracle Theatre where he served as lighting designer for THE GHOST SONATA (nominated Non-Equity Jeff Award for Lighting Design), THE MOTHER (nominated BroadwayWorld Chicago Award for Best Non-Equity Lighting), THE AMERICA PLAY, ROMULUS, THE PRESIDENT, all three mainstage productions of RADIO GOGGLES, WOYZECK, and TERMEN VOX MACHINA. Additional Chicago credits include CHALK (Sideshow Theatre), GENESIS (Definition Theatre), A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM (Strange Loop Theatre), BARD FICTION (Commedia Beauregard), BEAUTIFUL BROKEN (Broken Nose Theatre), and THEY ARE DYING OUT (Trap Door Theatre). While primarily a lighting designer, Eric comes from a directing background. His most prominent directorial work was the 2012 Chicago production of A Klingon Christmas Carol with Commedia Beauregard, for which he also designed the lighting.
Eric is currently the Lighting Director for the Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center and Resident Lighting Designer for The Studio Theatre at Tierra Del Sol in The Villages, Florida. At The Sharon he gets to host world renowned performers including classic rock bands, dance companies, and Broadway tours, while at The Studio he works with a team of designers and artists to create resident productions ranging from intimate two person plays to expansive musicals. This balance of creativity and execution is a thrill and challenge that Eric is eager to tackle every day.
"[With] Eric Van Tassell's grungy lighting washing over actors and audience alike, we are directly implicated in the struggle." -- Chicago Tribune
"Eric Van Tassell’s lighting is evocative." -- Queens Chronicle
“Eric Van Tassell’s lighting design does heavy lifting as well, with booms that create shadows as if lighting dance[s], augmenting the introduction of Achilles, for example, by making him large as a projected image of Trask's body. Bold shifts from red to blue to gold delineate mood and heighten drama…” -- Revue West Michigan
“And as complicated as the lighting design was, it was all perfectly executed.” -- Encore Michigan
"Set designer Mike Mroch and lighting designer Eric Van Tassell create an elegant abattoir." -- Time Out Chicago
"Lighting designer Eric Van Tassell [and the rest of the design team] manifest the bizarre reality with remarkable and stunning vision." -- Chicago Stage Review
"Eric Van Tassell’s side lighting creates the shadows familiar to German Expressionism." -- Stage and Cinema
"Eric Van Tassell's lighting design, with its bleary reds and blues, melds perfectly with the projection images..." -- Chicago Theater Beat