Scenic Artist and Designer
Alyssa Armstrong is a scenic artist and designer with a strong background in fine arts.
This Texas native moved to NYC post-graduation after accepting the Technical Director position at Stella Adler Studio of Acting. She works on every show produced there as the technical director, carpenter, and scenic artist. In between shows there, she does overhire work at several local theaters, including Signature Theatre Company, as a carpenter or painter.
In May of 2021, Alyssa graduated from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with a BA in Theatre (Design/Tech emphasis). She has also earned an Associate of Arts degree from Lone Star College.
At TAMUCC, Alyssa designed scenery and was the charge artist for Dance Nation and Marie Antoinette. She also served as Costume Designer for Blood at the Root and painted scenery, stitched costumes, and worked as Wardrobe Crew Head for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder.
While attending Lone Star College, Alyssa was the Scenic Designer and Charge Artist for Machinal. She assisted with scenic design and was the Charge Artist for Urinetown. She also worked as the Charge Artist for Sylvia, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and Shipwrecked!.
Alyssa is an artist through and through. When she isn’t collaborating with fellow theatre artists and creatives, she finds time to paint for pleasure and continues to refine and improve her skills in design work.
Theatre has always been something I have gravitated towards. The process of putting on a show is unlike anything else. You have a group of people from all walks of life coming together to create this living, breathing piece of art. This piece of art can reach out and touch the hearts of many, but at the end of the day the curtain drops for the last time, the scenery is struck, and the next show is put on. A show’s existence is a short one, but it is so impactful.
When I was growing up, I always saw myself as an artist. I felt peaceful while painting. I loved the idea of being able to put a little bit of myself into everything I created. I have a strong foundation in fine art and that has helped me immensely. It has allowed me to be able to translate those skills and techniques onto a bigger canvas on stage.
Like many theatre designers, I started on the stage. It wasn’t until I was in college that I stepped into the role of a scenic painter and truly found my calling. I was painting a Charles Schultz-esque mailbox on the backdrop for a production of You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and I realized that I was helping create a world with every stroke of my paintbrush. That idea of creating a world from seemingly thin air is one that excites me and drives me as a scenic artist and designer.
The scenery is vital to an effective production. It is often the first thing that the audience sees. It literally sets the scene and the atmosphere for the whole show. When I take on the role of designer, I want to make a world that not only helps tell a clear story but evokes a certain emotion for the audience. In order to do that effectively, I get down to the nitty gritty details. And that is where I truly shine. I have grandiose, creative ideas and whimsical, carefree creation and I back those ideas up with hyper specific details. Sure, sometimes that tendency to be anal bites me in the butt (pun intended). Sometimes I focus on the minute details and forget the old 30-foot rule when I’m painting a duck on a 10-foot-tall backdrop of a park for a scene in Sylvia. Not many people would notice that duck, but it aids in the show’s environment and it helps the actors believe the world they’re in. As a scenic designer, my role in the artistic process is to not only create the world for the audience, but for the actors as well.
I live and breathe to be a part of something bigger than myself. That something is theatre. To create that moment when the stage lights go up and the audience is immersed in this new world is what I am meant to be a part of. Collaborating with fellow creatives and making art together. Productions have a shelf life and at the end of the day the show is torn down and exists only in images. But it was there. The set was there, and it started in my mind alone. That is a truly powerful thing. At the end of it all, I reference the great Sondheim. “Look, I made a hat… Where there never was a hat.”