W. Oren Parker

Read W. Oren Parker's Sightlines Tribute

DOB: 12/1/1911 Location: Lansing, Michigan
DOD: 1/29/2007                     Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico




  • University of Michigan, School of Architecture, BS of D, (1934)
  • Yale University School of Drama, MFA, (1940)

Employment History:

  • Faculty, University of Texas (1945)
  • Faculty, Yale University (1946 -1963)
  • Faculty, Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA), (1963-1976)
  • Freelance Designer, more than 150 sets for plays, ballets, and television shows for CBS, Westport Country Playhouse, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Goodspeed Opera House, and for industrial productions for Coca-Cola, American Motors and General Motors
  • Architectural and Theatre Consultant for numerous theatres in the Pittsburgh area.


  • Author, Scenic Design and Stage Lighting 1963, with Harvey K Smith (8 editions since); R. Craig Wolf oversaw the stage lighting portions of the text after the 3rd edition
  • Author, Sceno-Graphic Techniques (1957, 2nd edition 1964); Editor’s note: This was the first text to standardize drafting for theatre.

USITT Involvement and Offices Held:

  • Member since 1963
  • Board of Directors
  • Long-time Chair of the USITT Graphic Standards Committee 

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (1986)
  • USITT Award for outstanding lifetime contribution to the Profession (1986)
  • Namesake of USITT Award for Young Designers and Technicians in the Performing Arts: W. Oren Parker Scenic Design Award, the first to be aimed specifically at undergraduate students (2001)
  • Professor emeritus of drama, Carnegie Melon University
  • Namesake of Carnegie Melon University, School of Drama’s W. Oren Parker Award for Excellence in Design and Production
  • Rockefeller Fellowship (1938-1939)
  • Member, United Scenic Artists, AETA, Michigan M Club, Michigan Union, Yale Dramatic Assn, and Yale Drama Alumni Assn