Arnel Sancianco


Fall 2023 Office Hours: 317 Zellerbach Hall, Wednesdays, 2pm–3pm (by appointment)
Lecturer: Scenic Design

Arnel Sancianco is a Filipino-American award-winning set and production designer originally from San Diego, CA. Arnel received his B.A. in Drama with an honors in design from UC Irvine and his M.F.A. in Stage Design from Northwestern University.

During his time in Chicago, Arnel designed at The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Lookingglass, Writer's Theatre, Drury Lane, Timeline, Court Theatre, Northlight, Haven, Steep, The Gift Theatre, and American Theatre Co. Arnel designed the set for Photograph 51 at the Court Theatre for which he received the Jeff Award for best Scenic Design in 2019. That same year he was also nominated for his sets on the world premiere of Lottery Day by Ike Holter at the Goodman, and the regional premiere of Something Clean by Selina Filinger at Sideshow Theatre Company. 

Other regional credits include productions at The Huntington, The Muny, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, American Players Theatre, The Rep at St. Louis, Milwaukee Rep, Asolo Rep, People's Light, and the Kennedy Center. 

He has collaborated with writer Isaac Gomez on the world premieres of Leopard Play: or Songs for Sad BoysI'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, and The Displaced as well as his short film Six Feet Apart. Arnel has also collaborated with Ike Holter on his world premieres of Lottery Day and Put Your House in Order. Other premieres include the original work of Selina Filinger, Gracie Gardner, Monty Cole, Zak Berkman, Stuart Carden, Jessie Fisher, Mary Tuomanen, Sharyn Rothstein, David Kersnar, and Althos Low.

Arnel was formerly the professor of scenic design at Arizona State University where he taught introductory design courses as well as advanced skills courses such as CAD and hand drafting, figure drawing, and model making. He has hosted special master classes for Steppenwolf's Young Adults Council, and the National High School Institute at Northwestern. He is a proud member of United Scenic Artists Local 829.