Lee Nel

Lee Nel


Lee provides consultancy in all aspects of theatre design and project management, specialising in auditorium design and building planning, seating, sightlines and accessibility.




Over the last 12 years, Lee has worked on numerous renovations and new build projects, with architectural design firms, project management firm, and community theatres for cultural institutions and higher education facilities throughout the US, as a Project Designer, Project Architect, and Project Manager.

Lee started her career in theatre as a stagehand, set builder, lighting operator, and sound operator. Her passion for architecture and theatre lead her to study both simultaneously and receive the first dual accreditation from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Lee lead several teams and designed multiple award winning cultural projects at H3, Hardy Collaboration Architecture, including the Dimenna Center for Classical Music, Signature Theatre and Schuster Concert Hall for Wright State University. Her work on these projects included project management, construction oversight, client engagement, BIM coordination, budget development and more. Prior to joining Charcoalblue Lee joined Zubatkin Owner Representation to oversee and manage projects for cultural institutions and non-for-profit entities, including New Victory Theatre and Hudson Theatre.

Lee’s consultancy work at Charcoalblue includes The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center and Stages Repertory Theatre in Houston.

Lee on a site visit at Clair Tow (LCT 3) at Lincoln Center.

Lee with some of the New York team, Summer 2017.

Lee on a site visit to Marriott Marquis standing behind the LED screens, with the full design team.

What's the greatest lesson you've learnt as a Theatre Consultant?

There are never two theatre projects alike – each project has a uniquely distinct solution for each client. Thinking outside the box is key to tap into ingenuity and creativity.

What first sparked your love of theatre or performing arts?

Having never been introduced to the performing arts at a young age, growing up in South Africa, it took moving across the pond and befriending an actor in school, who invited me to the scene shop to get a look at the paper mache Audrey for Little Shop. I was instantly fascinated in the construction of the set and props and have been hooked ever since.

Experiencing the first performance in a space I had a hand in designing and managing has left a permanent mark in my memory, specifically the Dimenna Center for Classical Music. There is nothing as special as the first project you can really call your own and then watching the audience and performers react to the building and Auditorium, left me speechless.

What qualities should a 'great performance space' have?

The room needs to feel intimate, dynamic, and appropriate for the site, production company, and artist goals. Furthermore, the space should have the technical infrastructure that is fitting to the quality of performances and artists’ ability.

Lee Nel


Wrapped in translucent, veined marble laminated by insulated glass, the building will look like a monolithic box by day and a glowing cube at night.



Lee Nel

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