Biography: Scenic Design

DEAN M. SHIBUYA, Scenic Designer

Noted as an architectural designer, I was approached about the possibility of designing sets for theater productions by Director Craig Slaight.  Merging my architectural skills with my love of live performance, I started my career in scenic design at San Francisco’s ACT (American Conservatory Theatre) Young Conservatory with a set for Ladies of the Canyon:  The Music of Joni Mitchell, followed by shows featuring the music of James Taylor (Shed a Little Light), Sting, and most recently Elton John.  I also designed sets for the Young Conservatory’s dramatic productions of Mullen’s Alley, Charley’s Aunt and the world premier production of Broken Hallelujah (a world premiere).  Designs for other Bay Area productions include Theatre Rhinoceros’s Twelve Days of Cocina, a holiday show by comedienne Marga Gomez, Falsettos and Three on a Party, a coproduction with Word4Word Theatre Company.  I also designed sets for San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s graduate productions of the baroque opera L’Egisto, by Francesco Cavalli and Orpheus in the Underworld by Offenbach under the direction of Richard Harrell.   

In 1996 I was commissioned to design a set for the Bangkok Opera's new production of Madama Butterfly under international director Henry Akina.  After a very successful run there, the concept was submitted accepted by the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland  where we where it was reinvented to adapt to their magnificent venue in St. Olof's Castle in Finland's beautiful Lake Country.  One of their requirements was a design that could be also used in a conventional proscenium theater so the production could travel to other opera houses. This production's first stop beyond Savonlinna was recently staged for the Malmö Opera in southern Sweden.  It ran for two months to critical acclaim and, as a result,  will be reprised in the spring of 2013.


Producing credits include two shows for Broadway legend Carol Channing’s "The First Eighty Years are the Hardest!" in Honolulu as well as two concerts in San Francisco featuring Hawai’i’s Grammy Award-nominated female vocalist, Amy Hanai’ali’i.  


As of August 2011 I was thrilled to be named the new Managing Director of the San Francisco Lyric Opera  and will, along with Artistic Director Barnaby Plamer revive the company in a new direction focusing on contemporary chamber opera!


Please feel free to contact me at: or +1 (415-902-0777)