Jen Leno (she/they) is a Lighting Designer, Photographer, and Generative Artist working out
of Brooklyn, NY. She obtained her MFA in Lighting Design from Brooklyn College (2023)
and holds a BFA in Painting from the Honors College at Southern Connecticut State
University (New Haven, CT), (2014).
Jen has worked professionally in technical theater since 2014 and in New York City since
2016 as a Lighting Designer, Assistant Technical Director (Hunter College), Head
Electrician, ETC Programmer, Board Op, Stagehand, and Stage Manager. Their love for
theater blossomed out of a 14-year, childhood dance career and small, but impactful
theatrical performance history. As a multidisciplinary artist, Jen maintains that Lighting
Design is the ideal career to utilize both her creative and problem-solving brains.
Diversified collaboration is central to Jen's values as a theater maker. Working with people
of underrepresented identities including the BIPOC, AAPI, and especially the LGBTQIA+
communities, is essential to their process and ambitions to continue the work of
decentralizing the historically white, cis-male dominated perspective in the technical theater
industry. She believes higher educational institutions can provide students from all
backgrounds with hands-on skills that can empower them to establish financial and job
security in our tumultuous and unpredictable artistic economy. For this reason they are
pursuing a career in both Lighting Design and Higher Education.
In her free time, you can find Jen wandering the Woodlands of Prospect Park,
playing/writing music, swimming in the ocean, petting all of the dogs on the sidewalk, and
on the rare occasion- sleeping in.
How you began to work with Off The Wall: One of my former Hunter College students actually recommended me for the job. She's been a Stage Manager with you and introduced me to Hans. When Jesus Divorced Me will be my first project with Off the Wall and I am so excited!
Your favorite work you have done so far: One of my favorite projects was Sasha Velour's Nightgown's the Musical. I had worked with Sasha before as a stagehand/drag kitten, but this was my first project with her as her Lighting Designer and Technical Director. The show was not only incredibly fun to work on, but also featured some of the greatest drag artists in the world including Sasha Velour, last season's Ru Paul's Drag Race Winner: Sasha Colby, The Boulet Brother's Dragula Winner: Vander Von Odd, NYC's own Untitled Queen and the Switch N' Play Drag Collective, and so many others. The work also featured a healthy dose of drag her-story. It remains one of my favorite designs and theatrical experiences to date.
Why you are excited to work for Off the Wall: Off the Wall's mission to support womxn in Theater (especially technical theater) is essential to the work being done to decentralize traditionally white, cis-male perspectives in our industry. As a queer womxn Lighting Designer, my favorite collaborations have been and will always be with other members of underrepresented communities in theater. The work Off the Wall does consistently aligns with my own values as an artist who is intent on helping to uplift the voices and stories that are less commonly featured in our industry. I am beyond excited to be a part of this wonderful community of artists and makers.