Mimi Lien is a designer of sets/environments for theater, dance, and opera. Arriving at set design from a background in architecture, her work often focuses on the interaction between audience/environment and object/performer. She hails from New Haven, CT and is based in Brooklyn, NY.
She was recently named a 2015 MacArthur Fellow, and is the first set designer ever to achieve this distinction. Selected work includes Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 (Broadway, Lortel Award, 2013 Hewes Design Award), John (Signature Theatre, 2016 Hewes Design Award), Appropriate (Mark Taper Forum, LA Drama Critics Circle Award), Preludes, The Oldest Boy (Lincoln Center), An Octoroon (Soho Rep/TFANA, Drama Desk and Lortel nominations), Black Mountain Songs (BAM Next Wave). Her stage designs have been exhibited in the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 and 2015, and her sculptures were featured in the exhibition, LANDSCAPES OF QUARANTINE, at the Storefront for Art and Architecture.
Her designs for theater, dance, and opera have been seen around the U.S. at such venues as Lincoln Center Theater, Signature Theatre, Playwright's Horizons, the Public Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Joyce Theater, Goodman Theatre, Soho Rep, and internationally at Perm Opera and Ballet Theatre (Russia), Intradans (Netherlands), National Theatre (Taiwan), among many others. Mimi Lien received a B.A. in Architecture from Yale University (1997) and an M.F.A. in Stage Design from New York University (2003).
The mission of Pig Iron Theatre Company is to expand what is possible in performance by creating rigorous and unusual ensemble-devised works; by training the next generation of daring, innovative theatre artists; and by consistently asking the hardest questions, both in our art and in its relation to the world around us.
Founded in 1995 as an interdisciplinary ensemble, Pig Iron Theatre Company is dedicated to the creation of new and exuberant performance works that defy easy categorization.
Over the course of its lifespan, Pig Iron has created over 30 original works and has toured to festivals and theatres in England, Scotland, Poland, Lithuania, Brazil, Ireland, Japan, Italy, Romania and Germany, among others. Individual works have been inspired by history and biography (Poet In New York, 1997 and Anodyne, 2001), rock music (Mission to Mercury, 2000 and Swamp is On, 2015), American kitsch culture (Cafeteria, 1997 and Welcome to Yuba City, 2009), and scientific research (Pay Up, 2005/2013 and Chekhov Lizardbrain, 2007). In 2001, Pig Iron collaborated with legendary theatre director Joseph Chaikin (1935-2003) to create an exploration of sleep, dreams, and consciousness (Shut Eye).
In 2005, Pig Iron won an OBIE Award for Hell Meets Henry Halfway, an adaptation of Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz's novel Possessed; in 2008, Pig Iron won a second OBIE for James Sugg's performance in Chekhov Lizardbrain. Pig Iron's staging of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (2011) was nominated for ten Barrymore Awards for Excellence in Theatre, winning four, and enjoyed sold-out performances at Philadelphia Theater Company and later at Abrons Art Center in NYC (2013). Pig Iron has been named Theatre Company of the Year by Philadelphia Weekly and Philadelphia City Paper.
In 2011, Pig Iron launched a 2-year graduate program in physical and devised theater at a new home in North Philadelphia. In 2015, the company partnered with University of the Arts to offer both a Graduate Certificate and an MFA in Devised Performance.