Bio


Michael Ramsaur is a Emeritus Professor at Stanford University having served as Director of Production. In addition to teaching regularly at the Bavarian Theater Academy Munich, he is a guest professor at the University of Arts Belgrade in the Interdisciplinary M.A. Program in Theater, the Shanghai Theatre Academy and an honorary professor at the Central Academy of Drama Beijing. He has served as Chair of the Education Committee and President of OISTAT (the International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects, and Technicians), and is a long-time active member of the United States Institute of Theater Technology (USITT), as well as a member of the United Scenic Artist Association (Lighting Design USAA Local #829), the International Alliance Theatrical Stage Employees (Stage Hands IATSE Local #16), the Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA), and the International Association Lighting Designers (IALD). Ramsaur has had a forty-year career in theater including serving as a lighting designer for many theater companies internationally and locally, including Broadway by the Bay, where he was the Resident Lighting Designer having designed over 80 musical productions. Examples of his designs have been displayed at two United States Institute of Theater Technology Design Expositions, a theater design exhibit at the Triton Museum San Jose, and at theatrical design exhibitions in Prague and Shanghai. He has been awarded Outstanding Lighting Design awards from the San Francisco Bay Area Critics Association, Dean Goodman Award, and Drama Logue Award as well as receiving a Fulbright grant. His articles on lighting techniques have been published in three countries and he has created a computerized software program to aid lighting designers.

Academic Appointments


  • Emeritus Faculty, Acad Council, Theater and Performance Studies

Administrative Appointments


  • Director of Production, Department of Drama, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1976 - 2015)
  • Chairman, Drama Department, Stanford University (1998 - 2001)
  • Acting Chairman, Drama Department, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1998 - 1998)
  • Chairman, Drama Department, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1989 - 1995)
  • Acting Chairman, Drama Department, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1988 - 1989)
  • Vice Chairman, Drama Department, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1987 - 1988)
  • Managing Director, Stanford Summer Theater, Stanford University, Department of Drama (1979 - 1983)

Honors & Awards


  • Awarded Fellow of the Institute, United States Institute for Theater Technology, United States Institute of Theatre Technology (2012)
  • Outstanding Contribution Award, In Recognition of Outstanding Contribution to Theatre Training, Central Academy of Drama, Beijing China Beijing China (2010)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award, Crazy for You, Broadway by the Bay, San Mateo, CA (2009)
  • Michel Ramsaur Award Created, For outstanding Lighting in Uganda (2007)
  • Research Fellowship, United States Institute for Theatre Technology (2007 - 2008)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award, Miss Saigon, Broadway by the Bay, San Mateo, CA (2006)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award nomination, Funny Girl, Broadway by the Bay, San Mateo, CA (2004)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award nomination, Evita, Broadway by the Bay, San Mateo, CA (2002)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award nomination, Gypsy, TheatreWorks, Palo Alto, CA (2000)
  • Dean Goodman Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, Gypsy, TheatreWorks, Palo Alto, CA (2000)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Peninsula Civic Light Opera, San Mateo, CA (1997)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award nomination, Blues for an Alabama Sky, TheatreWorks, Palo Alto, CA (1997)
  • Bay Area Drama Critics, Outstanding Lighting Design Award nomination, The World Goes Round, TheatreWorks, Palo Alto, CA (1994)
  • Drama Logue, Lighting Design A ward, A Normal Life, TheatreWorks, Palo Alto, CA (1993)
  • Partners Fellowship for Lighting Design, Santa Clara County Arts Council (1991)
  • Phi Kappa Phi, Scholastic Honorary Society, Phi Kappa Phi Society (1971)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • Immediate Past President (Executive Committee Vice President), International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) (2009 - Present)
  • President, International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) (2005 - 2009)
  • Governing Board member, International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) (2001 - Present)
  • Lighting Design Working Group member, International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) (1999 - Present)
  • Chairman, Education Commission, International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) (1996 - 2005)
  • Head, International Association of Scenographers, Theater Architects and Technicians (OISTAT) USA/USITT Centre (2011 - Present)
  • Member, International Liaison Committee, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (1992 - Present)
  • Member, Lighting Design Commission, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (1981 - Present)
  • Member, Lighting Design Executive Committee, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (2001 - 2004)
  • Member, Education Commission, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (1996 - 2002)
  • Northern California Section Chairman, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (1981 - 1982)
  • Member, Executive Committee, United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) (1998 - 2011)
  • Member, United Scenic Artist Association (USAA) Local #829
  • Member, International Alliance Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local #16
  • Member, Illumination Engineering Society of North America (IESNA)
  • Member, International Association Lighting Designers (IALD)
  • Member, Association of Lighting Designers, U.K. (ALD)
  • Member, Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft e. V., German Technical Theatre Association, Germany (DTHG)
  • Member, Taiwanese Association of Theatre Technicians, Taiwan (TATT)
  • Member, Verein Lichtgestaltung e.V., Association for Light Design, Munich, Germany
  • Executive Board Member, Lighting Design Foundation (2002 - 2009)
  • Managing Editor for Content, Digital Theatre Words, a lexicon and dictionary of 2,500 Theatre Design and Technical Terms translated in 24 Languages
  • Program Reviewer, Macalester College Department of Theatre Review (2012 - 2012)
  • Program Reviewer, Pomona College Department of Theatre Review (2008 - 2008)
  • Structural Reviewer, Santa Clara University Center for the Performing Arts
  • Program Reviewer, Departments of Music and Theatre & Dance and the Center for the Performing Arts
  • Reviewer, Departments of Music and Theatre & Dance and the Center for the Performing Arts
  • Referee for academic positions, Duke University
  • Referee for academic positions, CUNY
  • Referee for academic positions, University of California
  • Chair, Drama Department (2001 - 2001)

Professional Education


  • Master of Fine Arts, Carnegie-Mellon University, Drama (1971)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts, Carnegie-Mellon University, Drama (1970)

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


theatrical lighting design

All Publications


  • Chinese English Theatre Words null Ramsaur, M. F. China Theatre Publishers. 2013; null (null)
  • Lighting The Ring and Tannhauser at Bayreuth Cue Technical Theatre Review Ramsaur, M. F. 1986; 43: 27-32
  • Stage Lighting in Munich - The Kammerspiel and Deutsches Theater Cue Technical Theatre Review Ramsaur, M. F. 1985; 38: 9-15
  • Stage Lighting in Munich - The National Theater Cue Technical Theatre Review Ramsaur, M. F. 1985; 37: 9 - 13
  • A Designers View of Lighting Biihnentechnische Rundschau Ramsaur, M. F. 1985; 4: 17-19
  • The Staging of Wagner's RING Lighting Dimensions Ramseur, M. F. 1984; VII (7): 42-53