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Joseph Forbes

Lecturer in Theatre Design/Technology

As the founder of Scenic Art Studios, Joseph Forbes has been one of the most prolific and influential artists of our time. His work is represented in the vast majority of Broadway productions mounted each year. Some of his recent productions include Waitress, Beautiful, Paramore, In Transit, The Humans, and Shuffle Along. His anticipated upcoming productions include Hello Dolly and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Forbes studied scene design at the University of North Carolina–Greensboro, where he earned a BFA in scene design. Upon moving to New York, he attended Lester Polakov’s Studio and Forum of Stage Design. Forbes has had a long career as a professional scenic artist, working in New York on projects ranging from theatre, ballet, film, and television, to theme parks, restaurant interiors, and permanent displays. He started at Nolan’s Scenery Studio in 1979 and painted on many of the iconic productions of that era, including Annie, Cats, A Chorus Line, Evita, and 42nd Street. His credits in film include Ghostbusters, Crocodile Dundee, and The Money Pit, among others.

In 1994, Forbes founded Scenic Art Studios, which has become the premier scene painting studio for Broadway shows. The company has painted more than 300 Broadway productions, including such shows as The Producers, Hairspray, Spam-a-lot, Jersey Boys, Spiderman, and Book of Mormon. Concerned that many of the centuries-old scene painting techniques were being lost, Forbes founded the Studio and Forum of Scenic Art in 2004 to preserve the teachings of the legendary Polakov Studio.