The Culver City High School Academy of Visual and Performing Arts is pleased to announce the appointment of Kirsten Opstad as our new Creative Director of Theatre. Kirsten is no stranger to AVPA, having served as our Technical Director in the past and having worked with our AVPA Film program and 9th grade English classes last year as a teaching artist. Kirsten will be joining the Culver City High School faculty teaching CTE (Career Technical Education) Theatre courses.
Originally from Claremont, CA, Kirsten is an interdisciplinary theatre artist that holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Design and Technology from Emerson College in Boston. Early in her design career, Kirsten worked at Available Light, a firm that designs lighting for architecture, museum exhibition, trade shows, and events – there, she helped design the lighting for acclaimed projects like the Ocean Hall exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. and the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA. Shortly after, Kirsten joined the production staff at The American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, MA where she served as the assistant lighting designer on a season of phenomenal Broadway-bound productions – highlights include being thanked for her work on Once at the 2012 Tony Awards and drafting the first version of Chris Akerlind’s lighting design for Porgy & Bess, which went on to win the Tony for Best Revival of a Musical. As a designer in her own right, she has designed at the ART, Brown University/Trinity Rep, UC Riverside and Pomona College among countless, smaller companies.
Kirsten is also a veteran perform and writer. Between 2009-2013 she served as an actor, writer and improv instructor at Boston’s premier comedy theatre Improv Asylum, located in the city’s historic North End. While on the Mainstage cast, she performed 5-8 shows per week, nearly every weekend, for three years. While in Boston, she co-founded an improv program for 7-12th grade students at Artbarn Community Theatre in Brookline, where she discovered her passion for teaching. Kirsten is also a singer-songwriter and has written, recorded and produced over ten collections of work in as many years. She has toured as a musician and improviser throughout the United States.
Since returning to Los Angeles in 2013 to be closer to family, Kirsten helped open the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, co-founded arts education organization Arts Next Door, served at the Technical Director for AVPA for two years, served as the Lighting Coordinator at Campbell Hall School, as a Teaching Artist for Center Theatre Group, and as a Lecturer in Lighting Design at CSU Cal Poly Pomona. Kirsten has also been a part of the consulting team for the renovation of Frost Auditorium and beautification of the theatre swing space.
“While serving as Technical Director, I was consistently impressed by the professionalism and talent of the students in AVPA,” Kirsten said. “It is with immense pride and honor that I take on the role of Creative Director of Theatre for Blurred Vision Theatre Company.”