Damien Cooper


"...The lines between audience and stage are drawn and erased, like chalk in the rain, a process beautifully enhanced by Damien Cooper’s lighting..." (The New York Times)

Damien is a lighting designer working in theatre, opera and dance. He has designed over 300 shows.

Damien’s career highlights include Neil Armfield’s production of THE RING CYCLE for Opera Australia, EXIT THE KING on Broadway directed by Neil Armfield, Graeme Murphy’s SWAN LAKE for the Australian Ballet which was presented in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, KEATING! THE MUSICAL, and Australian Dance Theatre’s BIRDBRAIN which played over 60 venues around the world.

Most recently, Damien lit ON THE BEACH for Sydney Theatre Company, THE WEEKEND and INTO THE WOODS for Belvoir, IDK for Force Majeure, SOMOS and TRIPLE BILL for Sydney Dance Company, STATE for Western Australian Ballet, the 1001 REMARKABLE OBJECTS exhibition at the Powerhouse Museum and MACBETH at Bell Shakespeare.

In 2022 Damien lit, GREY RHINO for Sydney Festival; JURRUNGU NGAN-NA with Marrugeku in Venice, Berlin, Hamburg, Melbourne and Sydney; BLITHE SPIRIT and WHITE PEARL with Sydney Theatre Company; LIGHT SHINING IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE and WAYSIDE BRIDE with Belvoir Street; ORONTEA with Pinchgut Opera; For Sydney Dance Company AB INTRA in Sydney, Lyon, Paris, Arcachon and Mont de Marsan, IMPERMANENCE in Bathurst, Gold Coast, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Dubbo, Orange, Wyong, Darwin, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Karratha, Mandurah, Wagga Wagga, Melbourne and RESOUND in Sydney; STATE for Western Australian Ballet; COUNTING & CRACKING for Edinburgh International Festival and the Commonwealth Games Festival in Birmingham; RIVER for Australian Chamber Orchestra;

A snapshot of the work Damien has done with Sydney Theatre Company includes A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE GOLDEN AGE and SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER with Artistic Director Kip Williams, DISGRACED and ORLANDO directed by Sarah Goodes; ARCADIA directed by Richard Cottrell; JULIUS CAESAR directed by Benedict Andrews; THE LOST ECHO and THE WOMEN OF TROY directed by Barrie Kosky; TOT MOM directed by Stephen Soderbergh, THE CHERRY ORCHARD directed by Howard Davies and RIFLEMIND directed by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Other theatre credits include SPRING AWAKENING (ATYP) directed by Mitchell Butel, THE TEMPEST (Bell Shakespeare) directed by John Bell, THE GLASS MENAGERIE and THE GREAT FIRE (Belvoir) directed by Eamon Flack, STRANGE INTERLUDE and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF directed by Simon Stone (Belvoir), THE SEAGULL (Belvoir), SUMMER OF THE SEVENTEENTH DOLL, GETHSEMANE, STUFF HAPPENS and TOY SYMPHONY all directed by Neil Armfield (Belvoir) and MARK COLVIN’S KIDNEY directed by David Berthold (Belvoir).

Damien works with many leading dance companies in Australia and this work has toured extensively around the globe. Highlights include OCHO, GRAND, AIR AND OTHER INVISIBLE FORCES and ORB for Sydney Dance Company; set and lights for Shaun Parker Company’s AM I; lighting design for Tasdance’s AFFINITY; Chunky Move’s MORTAL ENGINE; Bangarra Dance Theatre’s OF EARTH AND SKY; Stalker Theatre Company’s SHANGHAI LADY KILLER; Universal Ballet’s GISELLE; Australian Dance Theatre’s THE AGE OF UNBEAUTY, THE BEGINNING OF NATURE, HABITUS and BE YOUR SELF and The Australian Ballet’s THE HAPPY PRINCE, MURPHY, ROMEO AND JULIET, FIREBIRD and THE NARRATIVE OF NOTHING.

Damien’s opera credits include A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM for Houston Grand Opera, Canadian Opera Company and Lyric Opera Chicago; THE MAGIC FLUTE for Lyric Opera Chicago, CHORUS! and PETER GRIMES for HGO and Canadian Opera Company, THE MERRY WIDOW, MADAMA BUTTERFLY, AIDA, COSI FAN TUTTE, ALCINA, THE MAGIC FLUTE, DAS RHEINGOLD, DIE WALKÜRE, SIEGFRIED and GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG for Opera Australia.

Lighting design for feature films MAO’S LAST DANCER and DANCE ACADEMY.

Damien has won three Sydney Theatre Awards for Best Lighting Design and four Green Room awards for Best Lighting Design. He won the Australian Production Designers Guild inaugural Award for Lighting Design for his work on Opera Australia’s DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, and the Showreelfinder Award for Live Performance Lighting Design for THE GLASS MENAGERIE at Belvoir.