Distinguished Scenic and Costume Designer, Eduardo Sicangco, Has Passed Away Unexpectedly

October 20, 2023

It is with a heavy heart that we share that one of the members of our Distinguished Scenic Designers Forum, Eduardo Sicangco, has passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. He was an excellent scenic and costume designer, a gifted teacher, and a treasured friend. In 2021, he received the USITT Distinguished Career Achievement Award in Scenic Design. His artistry was beyond compare, and he will be remembered and missed by so many.

See his obituary announcement from UNCSA, where he taught for many years, below. 


Dear UNCSA Community,

I am deeply saddened to tell you of the unexpected passing of School of Design and Production faculty member Eduardo Sicangco. He died of natural causes at his home in Winston-Salem this week.

An assistant professor of scene design, Eduardo joined the D&P faculty in 2011, after having served as an adjunct professor there starting in 2005. Just last spring, he was named a recipient of a 2023 University of North Carolina (UNC) Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching – one of only 17 outstanding faculty members representing all of North Carolina’s public universities and the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics who received the awards.

Eduardo’s prolific four-decade career as a set and costume designer served as a foundation for his love of teaching and his desire to support and challenge his students to grow into their best selves as artists. We are fortunate that he chose to share his knowledge and experience with our students for so many years. His contributions and connections to the industry have been vital to helping them launch and sustain successful careers in the arts.

Michael Kelley, dean of the School of Design and Production, told me: “Eduardo was one of the most highly regarded scene designers and illustrators in the industry, and his work was widely recognized. He was a master of his craft who amassed a wonderful body of work that will serve as his legacy to the industry."

“He was also beloved by his students and his colleagues in the faculty and in the entertainment cosmos. I was privileged to have him teach our emerging artists every day. We will miss him deeply and will hold his memory in our hearts and his influence in our future creations.”

Eduardo received a B.A. in mass communications from Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines) and an M.F.A. in stage design from the New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to joining the faculty at UNCSA, he held the title of Master Teacher of Design at Tisch for eight years.

He was a 2021 recipient of the Distinguished Achievement Award from the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology, and had numerous other accolades that highlight the importance of his art. His work has been seen on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in major regional theaters and spaces across the U.S. and around the world, including Radio City Music Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, Madison Square Garden, Las Vegas showrooms and international productions.

His design credits include "Cavalleria Rusticana," “Pagliacci" and "Carmen" for New York City Opera; "Babes in Toyland" for Houston Grand Opera; "Manon," "La traviata" and "L'Elisir d'Amore" for Virginia Opera; Donald Byrd’s "The Harlem Nutcracker" and "The Gershwin Celebration" for Brooklyn Academy of Music and PBS; "The Spring Spectacular" for Radio City Music Hall; "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" on Broadway; and "Das Barbecü" off-Broadway.

He is featured in the Lynn Pecktal books "Costume Design — Techniques of Modern Masters" and "Drawing and Painting for the Theater." He also was the subject of “From Inspiration to Illusion, the Scenographic Works of Eduardo Sicangco,” a career retrospective at the Ayala Museum in the Philippines, where he was born.

Of his teaching philosophy, Eduardo said: “Essentially, I strive to instill in my students, by example, three qualities that I believe a successful artist must have: curiosity, joy and tenacity… . I prize and aim to develop the student’s individuality in style, sensibility, approach and the formulating of ideas. … I stress critical thinking: to always question the text at hand and how it relates to a story being told to a modern audience.”

Please lean on each other as we process this extremely difficult loss together, and reach out to someone you trust.

Brian Cole