Ian Garrett is an artist, designer, producer, educator, and researcher in the field of sustainability in arts and culture. Ian is Associate Professor of Ecological Design for Performance at York University in Toronto, is the co-founder and director of the Centre for Sustainable Practice in the Arts (CSPA), and Producer at ToasterLab. He is a member of Associated Designer of Canada, where he serves on the Board of Directors, He is a member of the US Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT), where he served as the Curator for the United States’ entry for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. He is co-chair of World Stage Design 2022, and he co-chairs the Education Committee for the Broadway Green Alliance.
Ian maintains a practice focused on the integration of sustainability, design, and technology in performance and performing environments. His work is often focused on the concept of Technological Haunting, using immersive media and mixed reality technology to time-shift the experience of performance. Much of this work is done with collaborators Justine Garrett and Andrew Sempere through Toasterlab.
Other work includes Theatre Panik’s durational performance, Peep, at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2015; Erika Batdorf’s Micro-theatre for Burnish at the Theatre Centre and Venice Biennale, and the set and energy capture systems for Zata Omm Dance Projects’ Vox:Lumen at the Harbourfront Centre. He has worked on installations such as DTAH Architects’ installation Ravine Portal for the Storefront for Art and Architecture’s Toronto Site in 2014 and on the lighting team for the Crimson Collective’s Ascension, a 150’ wide, origami-style crane sculpture at the 2010 Coachella Music Festival.
He has been involved with hundreds of theatre productions as a lighting and media designer, having received the 2006 LA Weekly Theater Award for best lighting for Permanent Collection at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and having been the lighting designer for Song of Extinction with Moving Arts, which won the 2008 LA Weekly Theater Award for Production of the Year. This work includes work as a producer having worked on the premiere of Richard Foreman and Michael Gordon’s What to Wear at REDCAT, the Prague tour for Torry Bend’s puppet adaptation of Aimee Bender’s Loser, dozens of shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe including At Sundown—a physical theatre piece on aging and memory that he initiated, and was an associate producer on The Medea Project, a cross-cultural production of Medea in Athens and Los Angeles.
He has spoken and consulted on the arts and the environment around the world. His writing on the topic includes the monograph Arts, the Environment, and Sustainability for the Americans for the Arts’s New Community Visions Initiative; The Carbon Footprint of Theatrical Production, published in Readings in Performance and Ecology, from Palgrave McMilian, and the paper Theatre is No Place for a Plant in Landing Stages from the Ashden Directory. Garrett chaired the conferences Sustainability in Theatre and Staging Sustainability, 2014, and served as sustainability programme coordinator for World Stage Design in Cardiff, Wales. At WSD 2013 he led the selection committee for the temporary sustainable theatre project built for that event, the Willow Theatre.
Ian previously served as the Executive Director of the Fresh Arts Coalition, an arts service organization focused on awareness and marketing in Houston, TX, and as consultant and staff for the LA Stage Alliance. He has also served as group sales associate for Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston, spent significant time with with DiverseWorks (also Houston), and was patron services manager for the Will Geer Theatricum Botancium in Topanga, CA.
Ian received MFAs in Lighting Design and Producing from CalArts, and has a BA in Architectural Studies and Art History from Rice University.
Originally from Los Angeles, Ian has also called Houston and now Toronto home, where he lives with wife Justine and their two dual citizens, Miles and Henrietta.