Amelia Bransky from CTC’s conservatory talks scenic design

Who: Amelia Bransky, 25, the scenic fellow with the CTC conservatory.

She assisted scenic designer Tom Buderwitz on CTC’s season opener, Noises Off, and will also assist the scenic designers for Detroit ’67 and Romeo & Juliet. She’ll create the scenic design for CTC After Dark, in which the CTC fellows take the lead on a project, and the New Play Workshop.


Where she’s from: Bransky calls Chico, California, home, but is now living in Dallas to attend Southern Methodist University’s M.F.A. program for stage design. After studying theater arts and art history in undergrad at California State University, Chico, she decided to zero in on scenic and costume design.

“While I was in undergrad I did a lot of things, but I really started to love designing because of how collaborative it is,” Bransky said. “I get to work with the designers, I get to work with the director, I get to work with the actors, I get to work with the shops.”

Why Chautauqua: Bransky said she was attracted to the breadth of work CTC covers in a season, from classical to contemporary, but was particularly interested in how the company encourages the fellows to work together.

“I also love that I get to work as an assistant for already successful designers who know what they’re doing and have already produced mind-blowing work,” Bransky said.

Theater credits: A theme that Bransky sees in her own work is that she builds “very structural containers that are a little bit more metaphorical or psychological” and then “the actors breathe the life into that container.”

A favorite recent project was doing the scenic and costume design for SMU’s production of Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, an epic English civil war play in which a few actors take on multiple roles in various settings.

She also has experience working in interior design and television, and last July drove across the country while working on reality show “The Runner” for streaming service go90. Up next for Bransky will be designing costumes for Iphigenia at SMU this fall, and the scenic design for Frankenstein at Dallas Theater Center in the winter.

Where she draws inspiration: Sculptor and installation artist Cornelia Parker, performance artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña and painter Frida Kahlo are among Bransky’s favorite artists.

What she’s reading: An avid reader, Bransky recently finished rereading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. But if she could only take one book with her to a deserted island, it would be East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

First theatrical memory: “In fifth grade I was an iris in Alice in Wonderland and I absolutely loved it,” Bransky said. “And then as I grew up, I just always knew I wanted to do theater and I wanted to make art.”

Tags : Amelia BranskyChautauqua Theater CompanyNoises OffThe Artstheater

The author Dara McBride

A recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Goldring Arts Journalism program, she comes to Chautauqua after covering Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, for The Post and Courier. A Delaware native, she spent three years as a lifestyles editor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore writing about local authors, musicians and artists. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre magazine. She can be reached at or @DaraMcBride.