Nick Schlieper

Lighting Designer
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© Lisa Tomasetti

Nick Schlieper designs for all of the major performing arts companies in Australia, and works regularly in Europe and the USA. He is one of Australia’s most highly awarded designers having received six Melbourne Green Room Awards, seven Sydney Theatre Awards (2 for set design and 5 for lighting design), the inaugural 2013 Australian Production Designers Guild Best Lighting Design Award, as well as 5 Helpmann Awards.

Nick will begin 2024 in London recreating his design for STC’s The Picture of Dorian Gray at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. His Salzburg Festival Médée will also be seen at the National Opera of Poland, Warsaw. Engagements in Australia will include Into the Shimmering World and Dracula for Sydney Theatre Company.

Some highlights of recent years include Reiman’s Lear, Martinu’s Greek Passion and Cherubini’s Médée, all for Salzburg Festival; Penderecki’s Die Teufel von Loudun at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; Jekyll and Hyde in Perth, Adelaide and Sydney; Scenes from the Climate Era (set and lighting) and The Master and Margarita for Belvoir Street; and Bangarra’s Sandsong.

2022 saw Nick Schlieper light Bangarra Dance Theatre’s acclaimed production of Wudjang: not the past, Opening Night for Belvoir Street, North by Northwest (Kay and McLean Productions), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Tempest, for Sydney Theatre Company and Phantom of the Opera (Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour).

His extensive list of recent credits for STC includes Playing Beatie Bow, The Real Thing, Saint Joan, Harp in the South, A Cheery Soul, The Resistable Rise of Arturo UI, Chimerica, Three Sisters, All My Sons; for MTC: As You Like It, Macbeth, Twelfth Night and Photograph 51 (also set design); for Company B Belvoir: The Cherry Orchard, Packer and Sons, Ghosts and Twelfth Night; and for Bangarra: Bennelong (also at Adelaide Festival), Unaipon, Patyegarang and Bush (which has toured extensively in the USA and to London).

His international work includes productions of Waiting for Godot (at The Barbican, London), Billy Budd and A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Hamburg State Opera; The Hostage for the Royal Shakespeare Company; The Government Inspector for Theatr Clwyd in Wales; Armut, Reichtum and The Ginger Man for Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg; Kasimir und Karoline and Lea’s Hochzeit for Theater in der Josefstadt, in Vienna; U.F.A. Revue in Berlin and the Kennedy Centre Washington; Michael Kramer and Ein Florentinerhut for Schillertheater in Berlin; Michael Bogdanov’s productions of Macbeth and Peer Gynt for the State Theatre of Bavaria; Uncle Vanya and Private Confessions (both directed by Liv Ullman) for The National Theatre of Norway; Aristokraten in Stuttgart. The Present, Hedda Gabler and A Streetcar Named Desire, all with Cate Blanchett, also played in New York.

Nick’s work in Music Theatre includes Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in Australia, on Broadway, the West End, Toronto, and Sao Paolo and Love Never Dies in Hamburg, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne and a US national tour for The Really Useful Company.

His extensive work in opera in Australia includes Don Giovanni, Nabucco, Tannhäuser, Il Trovatore, L’elisir d’amore, Andrea Chenier, Freischütz, Falstaff and Seraglio for Opera Australia; Salome (lighting and set design) and Parsifal for State Opera of South Australia; Flying Dutchman, Don Giovanni, and Ken Russell’s Madama Butterfly for Victorian State Opera; Macbeth (lighting and set design) and The Elixir of Love for Opera New Zealand and Don Giovanni (lighting and set design) for Opera Queensland. He was also lighting and associate set designer of the first Australian production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Adelaide in 2004.

His many other theatre credits include Endgame (for which he won the Sydney Critics Award for Best Stage design in a Mainstage production), The Present, King Lear, The Serpent’s Teeth, Blackbird, Dissident, Mother Courage, The Season at Sarsaparilla, A Kind of Alaska/Reunion, Hedda Gabler, Victory, A Doll’s House, Volpone, Don Juan, Cyrano de Bergerac, A Delicate Balance, Les Parents Terribles, The Life of Galileo, Pentecost, As You Like It, Threepenny Opera, and Racing Demon for Sydney Theatre Company; North by Northwest and Death and the Maiden (lighting and set design), Hamlet, Pennsylvania Avenue, Ninety, The Glass Soldier, Cyrano de Bergerac, Two Brothers, The Visit, Inheritance, Great Expectations, Proof, The Tempest, Comedy of Errors, Poor Boy, and Measure for Measure for Melbourne Theatre Company; The Department, Cosi, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Marat/Sade, Kafka Dances, and The Idiot for State Theatre Company of South Australia; The Tempest, Good Works (lighting and set design), and XPO for Queensland Theatre Company; Lulu, Black Mary, The Unexpected Man, and Measure for Measure for Belvoir Street Theatre.

He has also designed lighting for Scheherazade for the Australian Ballet, the acclaimed Cinderella for Royal New Zealand Ballet and many works for Bangarra Dance Company.

Nick has served on the boards of Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and Belvoir St Theatre Ltd in Sydney. He has consulted for both theatre and architectural projects and has taught extensively, including a 10-year post as guest lecturer at the Bayerische Theaterakademie in Munich.


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“Lighting designer Nick Schlieper knocks it out of the park. There’s one point where Ridgeway walks over to a record player and tilts his head slightly as he speaks in an ominous tone under a dim light, and it’s like Schlieper is screaming a warning to the audience.”

Jaime Lyth

“Lighting designers who are not afraid of the dark and create a world based on mood and effect are my favourite kinds of lighting designers……Nick Schlieper’s design is spellbinding, and it is why he is one of Australia’s best”.

Matt Taylor

“Nick Schlieper’s lighting design is superb. He pushes the range of light levels, that an eye can capture, to its maximum, and with aplomb. Schlieper's finesse and expertise is part of the story telling. The intense opening required total blackout, even the exit lights were briefly dimmed………the eventful night that Schlieper's design was so much a part of.”

Kym Vaitiekus

“Andrew Upton’s production opens on a magnificent set, designed and lit by Nick Schlieper, that is like a soaring gothic cathedral stretching up through the height of the huge stage”

John McCallum

“Only later does Nick Schlieper reveal the huge coup de design up his sleeve…”

Jason Blake

“…On David Fleischer’s vast, dark open set, splendidly lit by Nick Schlieper, the ensemble changes the settings with breathtaking pace.”

Lucy Kirkwood

“…This is a monumental, monochrome, vaguely post-apocalyptic wasteland, brilliantly lit by Nick Schlieper in hard-edged tones of metallic silver and grey”.

Jane Shilling

“…the staging is outstandingly beautiful, so much so that Patyegarang may be enjoyed as a work of visual art. The evocation of a pristine land and the play of light on rock are magical, adding to the atmosphere of otherworldliness.”

Deborah Jones

Managed by Graham Pushee: Email Graham February 2024

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