Robert Sunderman

Assistant Professor
Robert Sunderman

Rob Sunderman has been the resident Scenic Designer, Scenic Artist and Associate Professor of Theatre Design at Iowa State University for the past seventeen years and is also a fine artist. He graduated from the University of Iowa with a BFA, MA and MFA in Fine Art. Prior to taking his position at ISU, he was the Scenic Designer, Scenic Artist, Master Carpenter and Technical Director at Iowa Public Television. He has designed and scenic painted over 275 shows during his Theatre/television career.

Rob has received Iowa Film Awards, National Broadcasting Designers Awards and Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival awards for his scenic designs and also many fine art awards. It is not his awards that are of importance to him but the desire to be honest and true to the creative art form he is pursuing at the moment. At ISU Rob teaches Introduction to Theatre Production and Design, Design I, Scenic Design, Stagecraft II, Scenic Painting and various Independent Study classes. He also has taught fine art classes at the Des Moines Art Center for past 22 years, teaching a class there again this fall. Rob is dedicated to bringing out and nurturing the creative soul within all his students and colleagues. He continues to pursue his scholarly work for regional/national theatre, opera, TV, industrial events and various fine art venues.

This past year he designed and painted the sets for Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s productions of Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci;ISU Theatre’s productions of Mr. Burns: a post-electric play, Cabaret and The Tempest; Cedar Rapids Revival Theatre Company’s production of Grey Gardens, and scenic painted for Allstate Insurance Company International Conference. This coming year he is designing and painting the sets for Iowa State University Theatre’s productions of Out of the Fire: The Banned Books Monologues, A Christmas Carol and Oklahoma! as well as Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre’s Turandot.

Rob has exhibited and sold his fine art work in numerous galleries regionally and nationally. He recently has been working on a number of fine art series of work centered around renewal, fleeting moments, and the human intervention of natural cycles in a variety of mediums. One of his favorite quotes is from Leonardo DaVince “Art is never finished it is only abandoned”. Rob’s Scenic Design and Fine Art work can be found at

Show Credits 

  • Scenic Designer, Oklahoma!, 2017
  • Scenic Designer, A Christmas Carol, 2017
  • Scenic Designer, Out of the Fire: The Banned Books Monologues, 2017
  • Scenic Designer, The Tempest, 2017
  • Scenic Designer, Cabaret, 2016
  • Scenic Designer, Mr. Burns, a post-electric play, 2016
  • Scenic Designer, The Magic Flute, 2015
  • Scenic Designer, Les Misérables, 2015
  • Scenic Designer, A Christmas Carol, 2014
  • Scenic Designer, Crimes of the Heart, 2014
  • Scenic Painter, Crimes of the Heart, 2014
  • Scenic Painter, Spring Awakening, 2014
  • Scenic Designer, Spring Awakening, 2014
  • Scenic Designer, Amadeus, 2014
  • Scenic Artist, Amadeus, 2014
  • Scenic Designer, Into the Woods, 2014
  • Scenic Designer, The Seagull, 2013
  • Scenic Designer, A Streetcar Named Desire, 2013
  • Scenic Artist, A Streetcar Named Desire, 2013
  • Murals and Signs, A Streetcar Named Desire, 2013
  • Scenic Artist, The Three Musketeers, 2013
  • Scenic Designer, The Three Musketeers, 2013
  • Scenic Designer, Noises Off, 2012
  • Scenic Designer, Candide, 2012
  • Scenic Designer, To Kill a Mockingbird, 2012
  • Scenic Designer, Chekhov Short Stories, 2012
  • Scenic Designer, Rent, 2012
  • Scenic Artist, Rent, 2012
  • Scenic Designer, Love's Labor's Lost, 2011
  • Scenic Designer, A Christmas Carol, 2011
  • Scenic Artist, A Christmas Carol, 2011
  • Scenic Designer, The Miracle Worker, 2011
  • Scenic Designer, Guys and Dolls, 2010
  • Scenic Designer, The Arabian Nights, 2010
  • Scenic Designer, The Importance of Being Earnest, 2010
  • Scenic Designer, Vinegar Tom, 2009
  • Scenic Designer, The Odd Couple, 2009
  • Scenic Designer, Sweeney Todd, 2009
  • Scenic Designer, Gypsy, 2009
  • Scenic Artist, Gypsy, 2009
  • Scenic Designer, A Christmas Carol, 2008
  • Scenic Designer, Gypsy, 2008
  • Scenic Designer, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, 2008
  • Scenic Artist, The Boys Next Door, 2008
  • Scenic Mentor, Quilters, 2007
  • Scenic Designer, We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, 2007
  • Scenic Designer, Three Sisters, 2007
  • Scenic Designer, The Music Man, 2007
  • Scenic Designer, Arcadia, 2007
  • Poster Design, The Marriage of Figaro, 2006
  • Scenic Designer, The Marriage of Figaro, 2006
  • Scenic Designer, My Fair Lady, 2006
  • Scenic Designer, A Christmas Carol, 2005
  • Scenic Designer, The Pavilion, 2005
  • Scenic Designer, James and the Giant Peach, 2005
  • Poster and Program Graphic, James and the Giant Peach, 2005
  • Scenic Designer, The Secret Garden, 2005
  • Scenic Designer, Dearly Departed, 2004
  • Scenic Designer, True West, 2004
  • Scenic Designer, Fiddler on the Roof, 2004
  • Lighting Designer, Barjche, 2004
  • Scenic Designer, Ruddigore or the Witch's Curse, 2003
  • Scenic Designer, Incorruptible, 2003
  • Poster Design, Incorruptible, 2003
  • Scenic Designer, Proof, 2003
  • Poster Design, Proof, 2003
  • Scenic Designer, Brigadoon, 2003
  • Poster Design, A Christmas Carol, 2002
  • Scenic Designer, Stained Glass, 2002
  • Poster Design, Stained Glass, 2002
  • Scenic Designer, Grease, 2002
  • Scenic Designer, Heroes Among Us, 2001
  • Scenic Designer, Crimes of the Heart, 2001
  • Scenic Designer, Oklahoma!, 2001
  • Scenic Designer, Noises Off, 2001
  • Scenic Designer, Twelfth Night, 2000
0314 Carver Hall Iowa State University