Tom Burch

tom burch
Associate Professor of Scenic Design
Robinson 379

Faculty Research Connections Profile

Tom Burch is the Associate Professor of Scenic Design. Before joining UNC Charlotte in the fall of 2014, he taught at Ithaca College (NY) and for several years in the Theatre and Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago, as well as working as a freelance scenic designer based in Chicago. He holds a BFA in Theatre Design from the University of Kentucky, a Post- Graduate Diploma in Drama History from the University of Bristol, England (while on a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship), and an MFA in Stage Design from Northwestern University, where he specialized in Scenic Design. 

Chicago area design credits include: SUCKER PUNCH (Victory Gardens Theatre), MASQUE MACABRE (Strawdog 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 been 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 stagings of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas PIRATES OF PENZANCE, HMS PINAFORE and THE MIKADO, which have toured extensively across the US (Boston, Louisville, NYC, Chicago, LA, 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 five Jeff Award nominations (one win), three After Dark Awards, and the Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award.

In New York City, he designed the off-Broadway production of Craig Wright’s MISTAKES WERE MADE starring Michael Shannon (Barrow Street Theatre), The Hypocrites' PIRATES OF PENZANCE (NYU-Skirball Center, NY Times Critic's Pick), and JOURNEY TO OZ (Symphony Space).

Professional 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 locally at Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (CTC) designing such shows as THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT EVER, GRIMMZ FAIRY TALES (which received a Drama-League Award nomination for Outstanding Digital Production in NYC), BOB MARLEY’S THE THREE LITTLE BIRDS, MARY POPPINS, and many others. For CTC, he also adapted Peter Reynolds's classic children's book, THE DOT, into a touring toy/puppet theatre production. He also designed the premiere production of WITCH for Charlotte Conservatory Theatre. Elsewhere in the Carolinas, he has designed THE WEIR for Burning Coal Theatre (Raleigh), NO CHILD for Cape Fear Regional Theatre (Fayetteville), and THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE for Warehouse Theatre (Greenville, SC).

International work has included multiple shows for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scotland), children’s theatre shows for Ya Tong Theatre (Taiwan), and coming up in summer of 2023, he will be serving as scenic designer for La Musica Lirica’s opera repertory of DON GIOVANNI and IL TRIONFO DELL’ONORE, which will tour to various cities along Italy’s Adriatic coast. He’s served as the Director of the USA Student/Emerging Design exhibit for the Prague Quadrennial in 2011, 2015, and 2019. His design work has twice been chosen for exhibit in the World Stage Design Exhibit (2013 in Cardiff, Wales, and 2017 in Taipei, Taiwan).

Upcoming projects include MOONLIGHT for Burning Coal Theatre (Raleigh), ALLIE KAZAN AND THE MAGIC MANSION for Orlando Repertory Theatre, and A DOLL’S HOUSE PART 2 for Charlotte Conservatory Theatre and the Mint Museum.

He is an active member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 (the professional union for stage designers), US Institute for Theatre Technology, OISTAT (the International Association for Stage Designers and Technicians), and is currently serving as the Chair of Design/Tech/Management for Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

Research interests include design for non-traditional performance spaces, immersive and site-specific theatre, and contemporary puppetry.  His work can be viewed online at

Click here for Professor Burch's full Curriculum Vitae