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Chicago set designer Lauren M. Nichols stems from a traditional fine-arts background.

She originally found theatre as a way to expand her artistic abilities way back in middle school and then continued her training in a performing arts high school. Afterwards, she spent two years studying painting and interior architecture at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and then transferred to complete her BFA at The Theatre School of DePaul University. Shortly after college, she entered the world of Chicago storefront and since then has worked on over 50 productions in small spaces around the city. Lauren spent 5 years as a free-lance designer and painter before returning to school to further her education.


In 2017 she completed her studies at Northwestern University's Graduate School and earned her MFA in set and costume design.


Her work follows essentialist practices, but you will not find a design where she has not gone over every last component with attention to detail. She enjoys creating a world where the audience feels like they share the environment of the characters, and she focuses on strong gestures rather than overworked spaces.

Past designs have been with DePaul Opera, Rivendell Theatre, Firebrand Theatre, Highland Park Players, The Gift, Lifeline, Northwestern University, Jackalope Theatre, Harper College, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Metropolis, First Floor, Victory Gardens, University of Illinois- Chicago, The Children's Theatre of Madison, Northbrook Theatre for Young Audiences, Boho Theatre Ensemble, Glass Apple, Oil Lamp, Young People's Theatre of Chicago, and Redtwist. Over three summers, she also worked with high school seniors as part of The National High School Institute's Theatre Division (Cherubs) at Northwestern where she designed 4 shows each season and mentored students in the scene shop.


"In a world where you can be anything, be yourself."

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In addition to freelancing, she also works as a scale model-maker, draftsperson, and studio assistant to both Andrew Boyce and Collette Pollard. She has assisted on projects produced at Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf, Julliard, Paramount Theatre Aurora,  Timeline, St. Louis Opera, Oregon Shakes, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Rep, American Players Theatre, American Conservatory Theatre, Milwaukee Rep, Drury Lane, Berkeley Rep, Victory Gardens, Writer's Theatre, Old Globe, The Kennedy Center, and Alliance Theatre.

She has taught undergraduate design and skill courses at Northwestern University and The University of Illinois- Chicago, and currently teaches hand drafting, AutoCad, and digital rendering  at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Upcoming projects include productions with Writers Theatre, Village Theatre in Seatltle and Remy Bummpo.

Too Heavy for Your Pocket 2021

A Streetcar Named Desire 2009

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