Tom Burch

Assistant Professor of Scenic Design
Robinson 379

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Before joining UNC Charlotte in fall of 2014, Tom Burch taught at Ithaca College (NY) and several years in at the University of Chicago, as well as working as a freelance scenic designer based in Chicago.

Chicago area design credits include: SUCKER PUNCH (Victory Gardens Theatre), TALKING PICTURES, GAS FOR LESS, the Horton Foote Festival and THE HAIRY APE (Goodman); SPUNK and COMEDY OF ERRORS (Court Theatre); TEN CHIMNEYS, SOUVENIR, A CIVIL WAR CHRISTMAS,  and many others (Northlight); He's a frequent collaborator with The Hypocrites, having designed such shows as the 12-hour play cycle, ALL OUR TRAGIC, WOYZECK, FRANKENSTEIN, NO EXIT, THESE SEVEN SICKNESSES, as well as innovative and immersive takes on the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas PIRATES OF PENZANCE, HMS PINAFORE and THE MIKADO, which have toured extensively across the US (Boston, Louisville, Chicago, San Francisco, DC). 

Other Chicago area credits include shows at Chicago Shakespeare, Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, Light Opera Works, House, Lifeline, and Strawdog Theatres, Chicago Dramatists and many other “storefront” companies. His work in Chicago received 4 Jeff Award nominations (1 win), 3 After Dark Awards, and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award.

In NYC, he designed the off-Broadway run of Craig Wright’s MISTAKES WERE MADE starring Michael Shannon (Barrow Street Theatre), which originated at Chicago’s A Red Orchid Theatre. Regional credits include NIXON’S NIXON, SENSE AND SENSIBILITY, TOM JONES and OH GASTRONOMY! (Actors Theatre of Louisville); THE LADY WITH ALL THE ANSWERS (Arizona Theatre Co, Cleveland Playhouse), the American premier of Jukka Linkola’s opera, ROCKLAND (Pine Mountain Music Festival), as well as shows at American Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Peninsula Players, Stage One, Childsplay (AZ), Alpine Theatre Project, and many others. Since arriving in Charlotte, he's been active at Children's Theatre designing JACKIE AND ME, CORALINE, and JOURNEY TO OZ, among others.

He has taught as an adjunct at Georgetown College (KY), DePaul University Theatre School, North Park University, and Northwestern University (assistantship), from which he received an MFA in Stage Design. Professor Burch also holds a BFA in Stage Design from University of Kentucky, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Drama (History) from the University of Bristol, England (received while on a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship).

A proud member of USA Local 829, the union for professional stage designers, he is also active with the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, serving twice as the Director/Curator for the American Student Design Exhibit that travelled to the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space (both in 2011 and in 2015), presenting the work of emerging American stage designers to the international symposium.

Research interests include design for non-traditional performances spaces, interactive theatre and contemporary puppetry.

Current and upcoming professional projects include PIRATES OF PENZANCE/THE MIKADO at Olney Theatre Center (Baltimore/DC area), THE CITY OF CONVERSATION at Northlight Theatre (Chicago), and BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, the musical and BUD, NOT BUDDY at Children's Theatre of Charlotte. His work can be viewed online at

Click here for Professor Burch's full Curriculum Vitae