Sven Ortel

Sven Ortel is a projection designer with 15 years of experience in his field. He works internationally and nationally creating projections and imagery for theatre, opera, dance, musicals and beyond.

His work has been recognized with a Tony Award nomination in 2012 for Disney’s Newsies and in 2014 with a Drama Desk nomination for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Ortel grew up in Cologne, Germany, where he lit small-scale theatre shows, complemented this work with lighting for movies, advertisements, and music videos. His subsequent studies of theatrical lighting design in London led him to develop a keen interest in digital technologies and their potential for the live arts.

In 2001 he joined up with Dick Straker and his company mesmer to explore and further the use of imagery and projection in the live arts. For the National Theatre (London), mesmer provided realization and design services for over 20 productions and established a video department which introduced technologies and techniques that have become de-facto standard today. Together with Straker, he also conceived the video system and process that realized the technologically groundbreaking musical The Woman in White in the West End and Broadway in 2004.

In the last 15 years Ortel's work has been seen all over the world. His range of collaborators comprises some of the most established and celebrated artists including directors Michael Blakemore, Gregory Boyd, Simon McBurney, Matthias Hartman, Jonathan Kent, Trevor Nunn, Deborah Warner, Bart Sher, Julie Taymor and Francesca Zambello to choreographer Helgi Tomasson, conductor Valery Gergiev, and set designer George Tsypin.

Notable designs include Complicite’s A Disappearing Number directed by Simon Mcburney at LCF 2010 and 2010 World Tour, Swan Lake for San Francisco Ballet, the re-staging of the Kirov Ring Cycle under maestro Valerie Gergiev in St. Petersburg, Russia and the Royal Opera House, the musical Rebecca in Switzerland and Germany, Newsies at the Papermill Playhouse and Broadway, the off-Broadway production of Carrie and Julie Taymor’s A Midsummer Nights’s Dream in Brooklyn.

Broadway design credits include Jumpers, Faith Healer, Deuce, The Little Mermaid, Woman On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, Wonderland and Newsies.

To foster the future of his profession, Ortel mentors young projection designers, gives master classes, taught at UCLA and has created an online resource for projection design (

More about Sven and his work can be found at

“I’m honored to be joining the UT Theatre and Dance’s design faculty and its inspiring group of designers, artists and practitioners," he shares. " The multidisciplinary approach to design and willingness to explore new ways to design and tell stories is unique and unrivaled.”

man wearing glasses
Design and Technology
Phone: 512-232-9399