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Penny Remsen

Professor | Lighting Design

Penny Remsen, UMass Amherst Department of Theater

Randolph W. Bromery Center for the Arts, Room 111


B.F.A. Rockford College
M.F.A. Lighting Design, Temple University

Penny Remsen joined the Department of Theater in 1985, and she considers teaching here to be her most important legacy as a lighting designer.

Penny has many design credits to her name, including many opportunities to do important work with cherished collaborators both at UMass and in the broader theater industry. She has written about design, juried portfolio reviews, and been recognized for her work.

However, her priority has always been teaching. Penny is passionate about teaching students about how lighting works in telling a story onstage, how to collaborate productively with fellow theater artists, and how to conduct oneself professionally in the rehearsal room. The lessons she teaches equip students to successfully make their way in theater and related industries as lighting designers. Penny’s former students include three Tony-nominated Broadway designers, as well as dozens of designers and technicians supporting themselves in regional, international, and New York-based theater careers. She takes equal pride, however, in students who go in different career directions and translate her lessons into success in a wide variety of fields. 

Penny has designed in New York, Boston, Hartford, Philadelphia, Orlando, Chicago, Knoxville, Little Rock, Houston, Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Minneapolis, often bringing students with her as assistants to allow them to make career connections.

She is a member of USITT and has served as jurist for the U.R.T.A. portfolio reviews.

In 2004, she received the College of Humanities and Fine Arts Outstanding Teacher Award. She was also a finalist for the UMass Distinguished Teaching Award in 2003.