James Faerron

James Faerron

Set Designer - Lighting Designer - Production Manager - Technical Director - Equity Stage Manager and Producer.


James Faerron resides in San Francisco, California, where he presently is the Resident Set Designer for theater companies Campo Santo and Encore Theatre (for which he also serves as Producing Director). He is also the Technical Theater Instructor for San Francisco University High School.

James’ design career started in Miami, Fla., where he worked for The Actor’s Playhouse and The Area Stage Theater Company. His move to San Francisco in 1996 led to becoming the Technical Director and Production Manager for The Magic Theatre where he met and joined forces with Lisa Steindler (Encore Theatre) and Sean San Jose (Campo Santo.)

James is a minimalist designer, focusing his work on the word and forward movement of the script. For the past 10 years has concentrated on developing new plays, designing sets for many World Premieres by playwrights such as Octavio Solis, Adam Bock, Erin Cressida Wilson, Denis Johnson, Naomi Iizuka, Greg Sarris, Mark Jackson, Yussef El Guindi, Loretta Grecco, Jose Rivera, Carl Djerassi, Dave Eggers, Philip Kan Gotanga, Kevin Fisher, Jessica Hagedorn, Teresa Walsh, Luis Saguar and Jorge Ignacio Cortinas.


“I believe in the magic of theater, in it’s simplicity as a form of story telling and in it’s complexity in stirring emotions. I believe that theater is a collaborative art form, one in which none of it’s parts can or should work by itself, only when mixed together and performed in the presence of an audience.”


Best Set Design, Bay Area Critics Circle, for "Hellhound On My Trail" by Denis Johnson

Outstanding Set Design, Goodman Award, for "Hellhound On My Trail" by Denis Johnson

Outstanding Set Design, Goodman Award, for "Hidden Parts" by Lynne Alvarez

Outstanding Set Design, Goodman Award, for "Polaroid Stories" by Naomi Iizuka

Best Set Design, Carbonell Award Nomination, for "Passages" by Loretta Grecco


Encore Theater Company (Set Designer and Producer) - San Francisco;Campo Santo - San Francisco;The Climate Theater - San Francisco;The Magic Theater - San Francisco;Word For Word - San Francisco;American Conservatory Theater - San Francisco;Shotgun Players - Berkeley;Intersection For The Arts - San Francisco;East Bay Center For The Arts - Oakland;Noh Space - San Francisco;The Aurora Theater - Berkeley;The Actors’ Playhouse - Coral Gables, FL;Golden Thread Productions - San Francisco;Thick Description - San Francisco;The ESP Project - San Francisco;The Djerassi Foundation - Woodside, CA;Rattlestick Theater - New York City;Area Stage Theater Company - Miami, FL;The Z-Space Studios - San Francisco;CAL Shakes - Orinda, CA;Southern Rep - New Orleans, LA;

World Premieres

Octavio Solis, “Bethlehem,” directed by Octavio Solis;Octavio Solis, “The Ballad of Pancho and Lucy,” directed by Octavio Solis; Octavio Solis, “June in a Box,” directed by Octavio Solis; Adam Bock, “Five Flights,” directed by Kent Nicholson;Adam Bock, “The Shaker Chair,” directed by Tracy Ward;Adam Bock, “Thursday,” directed by Kent Nicholson;Adam Bock, “The Typographer’s Dream,” directed by Annie Kauffman;Erin Cressida Wilson, “Trail of her Inner Thigh,”* directed by Rhodesa Jones and Margo Hall; Denis Johnson, “Hellhound On My Trail,” directed by Val Hendrickson;Denis Johnson, “Shoppers Carried by Escalators Into The Flames,” directed by Nancy Benjamin; Denis Johnson, “Psychos Never Dream,” directed by Darrel Larson; Denis Johnson, “Purvis,” directed by Deliah McDougall;Denis Johnson, “Soul of a Whore,” directed by Nancy Benjamin;Denis Johnson, Stories From “Jesus Son,” directed by Sean San Jose;Naomi Iizuka, “Polaroid Stories,” directed by Delia McDougall;Naomi Iizuka, “Hamlet: Blood in the Brain,” directed by Johnathan Moscone;Greg Sarris, “Joyride,” directed by Margo Hall;Claire Chafee, “Darwin’s Finches,” directed by Lisa Steindler;Terry Tarnoff, “The Bone Man of Benares,” directed by Mark Routhier;Mark Jackson, “American $uicide,” directed by Mark Jackson;Adam Rapp, “Dreams of the Salthorse,” directed by Sturgis Warner;Yussef El Guindi, “Back of The Throat,” directed by Tony Kelly;Yussef El Guindi, “Jihad Jones and the Kalishnikov Babes,” directed by Mark Routhier;Loretta Grecco, “Passage,” directed by John Rodaz;Jose Rivera, “References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot,” directed by Hector Correa;Carl Djerassi, “Calculus,” directed by Andrea Gordon;Dave Eggers, “Sacrament!,” directed by Kent Nicholson;Philip Kan Gotanga, “Fist of Roses,” directed by Philip Kan Gotanga;Kevin Fisher, “Monkey Room,” directed by Mark Routhier;Jessica Hagedorn, “Stairway to Heaven,” Nancy Benjamin;Teresa Walsh, “Body Revolution,” directed by Roberto Varea; Luis Saguar, “Hotel Angulo,” directed by Margo Hall;Jorge Ignacio Cortinas, “Maleta Mulata,” directed by Paulo Nunes-Ueno;
*Co-designed with Donyalle Werle

Selected Set Design Credits

“Texts for Nothing” (Magic Theater);“Hidden Parts” (West Coast Premiere) Directed by Lisa Steindler;“Simpatico” (West Coast Premiere) Directed by Margo Hall;“The Housekeeper” (Area Stage Theater Company) Directed by John Rodaz;“A Thousand Clowns” (Actors Playhouse, Miami Fl.) Directed by David Arisco;“The Last of the Red Hot Lovers” (Actors Playhouse, Miami Fl.) Directed by David Arisco;“Gun Metal Blue” (Actors Playhouse, Miami Fl.) Directed by David Arisco;“Tomfoolery” (Actors Playhouse, Miami Fl.) Directed by David Arisco;“A... My Name is Alice” (Actors Playhouse, Miami Fl.) Directed by David Arisco;“Five Flights” (Rattlestcik Theater - NYC) Directed by Kent Nicholson;“A Friend of My Youth” (Word For Word.

Producing Credits

“Five Flights” by Adam Bock (Encore Theatre, San Francisco; Rattlestick Theater, NYC);“The Shaker Chair” by Adam Bock (Encore Theatre and Shotgun Players, San Francisco);“Octopus” by Steve Yockey (Encore Theatre and Magic Theater, San Francisco);“Simpatico” by Sam Shepard (Encore Theatre and Campo Santo, San Francisco);“The Trail of Her Inner Thigh” by Erin Cressida Wilson (Campo Santo, San Francisco);“Hidden Parts” by Lynne Alvarez (Encore Theatre, San Francisco);“Thursday” by Adam Bock (Encore Theatre Company);“I Think I Like Girls” by Leigh Fondakowsiki (Encore Theatre and Black Sheep, San Francisco);“Darwin’s Finches” by Claire Chaffee (Encore Theatre, San Francisco);“The Typographer’s” Dream by Adam Bock (Encore Theatre, San Francisco);“Dreams of a Salthorse” by Adam Rapp (Encore Theatre, San Francisco);“The Bone Man of Benares” (Encore Theatre, San Francisco); “American $uicide” (Encore Theatre and Z-Studio, San Francisco).

Other Credits

Stage Manager / Set Designer: “Encuentros del Son” (Mexico, California Tour);Road Manager: “Klezmer Mania” (North Anmerica Tour);Stage Manager / Light Designer: “Gamelan Sekar Jaya” (North America Tour);Production Manager and Technical Director: Magic Theater, San Francisco;Technical Director and Resident Set Designer: Actor’s Playhouse, Miami, FL;Resident Set Designer: Area Stage Theater Company, Miami, FL;

2008 - 2009 Projects

Set Design: “The Seafarer” by Conor McPherson for Southern Rep in New Orleans;Set Design: “Mauritius’ for The Magic Theater, San Francisco.;Set Design: “Woyzeck” at University of San Francisco;Set Design and Producer for the World Premiere of “T.I.C.” by Peter Nachtrieb, Encore Theatre, San Francisco;Set Design and Producer for the World Premiere of “The Flowers”, by Adam Bock, Encore Theatre, San Francisco;Co-Creator: An original piece created by SFUHS students to be premiered at the 2009 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Select Reviews

“Hidden Parts”"San Francisco Examiner" – “Steindler and her designers make excellent use of the Thick's tall, narrow performance space. Faerron's striking set uses two rows of tall, late-summer-tasseled cornstalks to suggest vast fields, with a two-tiered, nightmarishly skewed farmhouse growing out of the opposite wall. The crazy-angled upper porch, with its antique rocker, is the aerie from which crude, menacing, hawk-eyed family patriarch Thomas Arn (John Robb) surveys his domain. The patio below - with its half-heartedly festive party decorations - is the realm of his nervous, absent-minded wife Cynthia (Nancy Madden).”

“Back of The Throat”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “James Faerron's grungy, low-rent, basement apartment set is a character- defining extension of the semi-bohemian, intellectually curious, impoverished would-be writer Khaled”

“Monkey Room” "Talking Broadway" – “James Faerron has devised a breathtaking meticulous lab room that is perfect in every detail.”

“Shaker Chair” "Talking Broadway" – “James Faerron has devised a strikingly pristine set with a plain beige wall with an entrance doorway and two significant chairs: a stern Shaker chair and a more comfortable chair.”"San Francisco Chronicle" - “Dolly wallows self-indulgently in her personal soap opera and a broad, decadently comfortable armchair - the only such luxury in James Faerron's strikingly pristine set, its spartan white walls and clean lines echoing the architecture of the former church that's become Shotgun's Ashby Stage.”

“Beirut / Kvetch” "Miami News" – “Scenic designer James Faerron turns the stage into a cavernous hovel by using a pastiche of hurricane shutters, graffiti, and wood. This intricate set finds itself transformed on alternating nights when an entirely different show, the two-act Kvetch, takes the stage. The new set, a black-and-white op-art representation of the inside of a neurotic brain (designed, again, by Faerron) proves to be the most imaginative aspect of this overwrought comedy...”

“Hellhound On My Trail” "Berkeley Daily Planet" – “James Faerron’s set is quite striking. Windows downstage left and right plunge upstage center with a highly exaggerated angle of perspective. In the first act, with the addition of well-used wooden furniture, it is an schoolish bureaucratic interrogation room. In the second act, a hotel coffee shop. In the third act, a no-frills Texas motel.”

“Psychos Never Dream”"San Francisco Weekly" – “James Faerron has built an ideal split-level set, with crisp town scenes on top and disordered farm scenes below...”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “...as James Faerron's inventively versatile set – beautifully used by Larson throughout – unfolds to reveal a stunningly shoddy ranch interior...”

“Five Flights”"Curtain Up" – “James Faerron's abstract set manages to accommodate it all, including some modest projections to announce the "scenes" and a locker room encounter that creates a mini-hockey match with an empty shampoo bottle retrieved from an off-stage shower.”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “Everything rises on an updraft with the script. James Faerron's set, exquisitely lit by David Szlasa, uses a few white benches and a French curve to say everything that's required.”

“Pancho and Lucy”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “James Faerron's set, creatively lit by Jim Cave, is a perfect low-rent bar, from its odd art and half-working beer signs to its Elvis-bedecked corner bandstand….”SF Guardian – “... sharply choreographed by codirector Erika Schuch on James Faerron's lovingly detailed, atmospheric set.”

“The Typographer’s Dream”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “The stage is stripped to its bare walls for Faerron's creatively spare set, the floor covered with a network of schematic architectural outlines that will set up a clever homage-lampoon riff on Lars von Trier's "Dogville."”

“Soul of a Whore” "San Francisco Chronicle" – “Masha's, John's and HT's lives continue to intertwine with Jenks' as the action moves from bus station to intensive care unit to death row, each location beautifully suggested by shifts of the concrete-like, structural frames of James Faerron's set and changes in Jim Cave's architectural lights and Drew Yerys' ambient sound effects.”

“June in a Box”"San Francisco Chronicle" – “Composer Beth Custer and accordionist Isabel Douglass strike up an engaging corrido, framed in an odd trapezoid window in the patchwork junkyard wall of James Faerron's striking set.”

“Stairway to Heaven”"Oakland Tribune" – “....she cooks elaborate meals in a dingy apartment (the wonderfully stained, crumbling set is by James Faerron) and dictates her eloquent, poetic memories to Mickey, a possible junkie, who scribbles it all into a notebook.”

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