JANIE E. HOWLAND
Scenic Designer & Professor
Book of Will
Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Dir: Courtney O'Connor
Lighting: Chris Brusberg
Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet
Wellesley Repertory Theatre
Dir. : Nora Hussey
Cost. : Chelsea Kerl
I am a professional scenic designer based in Boston. I received my MFA from Brandeis University in scenic design and have designed over 250 shows since then. My designs have been seen at the Lynn Redgrave Theatre (Off-Broadway), Theatre For a New City (Off-Off-Broadway), Ohio Star Theatre (OH), Berkshire Opera Festival, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, Speakeasy Stage Company, New Rep Theatre, Emerson Majestic, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Children’s Theatre, Odyssey Opera, Stoneham Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival(NJ), American Stage Festival (NH), New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory of Music, Barter Theatre (VA), Opera Boston, Boston Midsummer Opera, Huntington Theatre Studio 210, ART Institute, Nora Theatre, Central Square Theatre, Reagle Players, Weston Playhouse (VT), North Shore Music Theatre. I have been an exhibit designer for CONSENSES, Festival of the Senses since 2014. I have received 8 design awards in Boston. I teach at Emerson College, Northeastern University and Wellesley College. I am a member of USA Local 829 and the Stage Source Board.
Links to articles:
-Mention in Christopher Durang article in new Dramatist Play Service copy of Miss.Witherspoon
Love and Information
Emerson Stage Dir: Shana Gozansky Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Anthony Beven Costumes: Robbie Flanagan Sound: Joseph Gurkan
English Speakeasy Stage Company Dir: Melory Mirashrafi Lighting by Amanda Fallon
Lyric Stage Company of Boston Dir: Scott Edmiston Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Karen Perlow Costumes: Gail Astrid Buckley Sound: Dewey Dellay
Lyric Stage Company of Boston Dir: Scott Edmiston Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Karen Perlow Costumes: Charles Schoonmaker Sound: Dewey Dellay
Streetcar Named Desire
Worcester Foothills Theatre Dir: Jason Southerland Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Matt Guminski Costume: Molly Trainer
Streetcar Named Desire
New Rep Theatre Dir: Rick Lombardo Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: John Malinowski Costumes: Frances McSherry
My Fair Lady
Lyric Stage Company Dir: Scott Edmiston Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Karen Perlow Costumes: Gail Astrid Buckley Sound: Samuel Hanson
New Rep Theatre Dir: Benny Ambush Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Scott Pinkney Costumes: Molly Trainor Sound: Dewey Dellay
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf
Lyric Stage Company Dir: Scott Edmiston Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Karen Perlow Costumes: Chip Schoonmaker Sound: Dewey Dellay
Peter and the Star Catcher
Lyric Stage Company Dir: Spiro Veloudos Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: Frank Meissner Costumes: Elisabetta Polito
Little Shop of Horrors
Lyric Stage Company of Boston Dir: Rachel Bertone Set: Janie E. Howland Lights: Frank Meissner Costumes: Marian Bertone
Moonbox Productions at The Wimberly Theatre Dir: Rachel Berton Set: Janie E. Howland Lightning: Sam Biondolillo Costumes: Marian Berton Sound: David Wilson
Concord Academy Dir: Megan Schy Gleeson Set: Janie E. Howland Lighting: David Wilson Costume: Elizabeth Rocha Sound: Ned Singh
I have dedicated my life to the study and practice of communication through art.
Studying Art History gives me a window into previous cultures and a language for
collaborating with others. Studying and working in scenic design for the theatre gives me a
visual medium to support storytelling. All people have art and storytelling in common as a
means of expressing the past, present and future.
Students in all fields of study should have some degree of cultural literacy. How many memes have been created from Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream without the creators
knowing the original artist? Culture and history are illustrated in the arts, whether it is visual
arts, architecture, theatre, etc. Arthur Miller’s The Crucible speaks to McCarthyism in America in the 1950’s. Robert Wiene’s German Expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a political statement regarding the emotions of the German people after the WWI defeat. The poetry of Langston Hughes portrays Black life in America and contributes to the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s. Regardless of students’ academic focus, the Humanities educate us about a variety of cultural history.
I bring cultural literacy to students through teaching visual arts, communication and
presentation. I teach neuroscientists to communicate their ideas in visual terms. For engineers, already very creative, I provide an experience with more organic forms of expression. In my scenic design class, they eventually imagine specific designs for scripts, music pieces, haikus, etc., that they have to present in front of their peers. I reach students of all disciplines. We all have the capacity to imagine worlds that can impact others and share our perspectives.
My work is about thinking outside of the box and communicating an emotional reaction
through a visual, sculptural media that happens to be scenic design for the stage. It’s about
creating an environment that influences the shared experience of a body of people. It is also a
collaborative art form where I have learned to say “Yes, and....” Or “No, but...” and try to solve challenges put before me with a team of other artists. As I continue to develop my craft I have become more focused on expressing the essence of the design. This concept has been clarified by my work with CONSENSES, an arts exhibition and curriculum that I have been involved with for 6 years (See "Consenses" Page).
We are at a time in this country when Academia and Theatre is being looked at under a
microscope. How do we break down the history of white privilege in our communities, creating more equitable opportunities and telling different stories that need to be told? I repeatedly look at my curriculum and adjust to try to meet this need by include scripts from playwrights of color, especially female identifying, look at expressions of a variety of cultures and discuss findings with colleagues.
I am honored to work with established professionals at multiple colleges, creative
colleagues in a variety of theatres and creative, intelligent students and look forward to
continued conversations using Art as the lens into our shared world and individual experiences.
"I wanted to say thank you for everything you taught me while I was at Emerson. The lessons I learned from you are reflecting in my current work and life. You were a blessing to have as a mentor and friend, and I hope the new batch of kids see that as well."
-Bree Dagdagan, Emerson 2019
Wellesley College Design Class
Eurydice, Sarah Ruhl Student Set Design
Emerson Pre-College Design
CONSENSES Art Exhibit Student Set/Lights/Costume Design
Framingham State Univ. Design Essent
Buried Child, Sam Shepard Student Set Design
"The diverse and interesting varieties of interpretations of the script in all its technical aspects shared today reflected the creative freedom and safe space you created for students. Thrilling, and of course, just what we want for developing creative minds. Josie was completely engaged with this program and process - a wonderful achievement in the online world we find ourselves in."
-Laura Marchese and Michael Estes, Parents of Josie Emerson pre-college design student
Festival of The Senses
Exhibit at Grange Hall Martha's Vineyard Summer 2014
Wellesley College Fall 2016
Exhibit on Martha's Vineyard Summer 2016
Come to Your Senses
Exhibit at Kidspace Gallery MASS Moca May 2018 - May 2019
I am one of the original set designers for CONSENSES, Festival of the Senses. CONSENSES was conceived by musician and artist, Sally Taylor as a way of bringing people together in a greater understanding of our world through art. It is an artistic "game of telephone". Creations that address the 5 senses are made into "chains" and then set designers create the exhibit space. CONSENSES premiered on Martha's Vineyard in 2014 and toured to Somerville, Massachusetts and Wellesley College. I am also bringing the CONSENSES curriculum into my design classes. I was one of four designers to create exhibit spaces for Art Makes Sense at Mass Moca that was installed from June 2018 - May 2019. During the pandemic, I revised the curriculum with Sally Taylor and offered a CONSENSES at home camp. I ran 2 session that were 9 days each for all ages. Students created using 7 different artistic media to explore a variety of prompts and share their unique perspectives, expanding each other’s understanding of the world. I continue to be one of the teachers that brings professional development to schools.
Northeastern University Dept. of Theatre
Dir. : Scott Edmiston
Cost. : Francis McSherry
Lighting : Oliver Wason