Set Designer Claire DeLiso Awarded Inaugural Burry Fredrik Design Fellowship

by Michael Eddy
Set Designer Claire DeLiso
Set Designer Claire DeLiso

The Burry Fredrik Foundation has announced a new commitment to launching the careers of graduates from the Yale School of Drama Design Departments with the establishment of the Burry Fredrik Design Fellowship. Set designer Claire DeLiso, who received her MFA this past spring, is the first recipient. This new Foundation initiative is a collaboration with Yale School of Drama and the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference.

Each year, the Yale School of Drama Design Department faculty will select one graduating scenic, costume, lighting, projection, or sound designer as the Burry Fredrik Design Fellow, who will receive a $15,000 award and will be asked to participate in the National Playwrights Conference as a design responder. In addition, if the Fellow is hired as a designer at Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, or Westport Playhouse in the two years following the award, the Foundation will make a grant to that theater in an amount equal to the fee paid to the designer.

“We are so pleased to honor Burry Fredrik in a way that so perfectly epitomizes her lifelong commitment to theater, to design, and to helping young professionals in the field. She would be proud to have Ms. DeLiso as the first recipient,” said Barbara Pearce on behalf of the Burry Fredrik Foundation.  

“On behalf of Stephen Strawbridge and Michael Yeargan, Co-chairs of the Design Department, and David Budries, Chair of Sound Design, we are deeply grateful to the Burry Fredrik Foundation for their visionary leadership in establishing a Fellowship that supports early-career theater designers,” said James Bundy, Dean of Yale School of Drama. “The additional benefit to our sister theaters here in Connecticut is a particularly meaningful investment that will benefit the entire field.”

DeLiso said, “I am honored to be the first recipient of this generous fellowship. I am grateful for my faculty’s recognition of my work at Yale School of Drama and for the opportunities this award from the Burry Fredrik Foundation offers me at the beginning of my professional theater career. I’m also excited to introduce myself and my work to colleagues at the O’Neill, Goodspeed, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf, and Westport Playhouse in the coming years."

A theater trailblazer, Tony Award-winning producer and Broadway director and stage manager, Burry Fredrik established the Burry Fredrik Foundation to promote the development of new work and the fiscal health of professional theaters in Connecticut. To fulfill its mission, the Foundation provides support for developing new works and audiences for Connecticut professional producing theaters with national import, and fosters the development of young theater designers. 

DeLiso is a New York City-based set designer. Her design credits include Imogen Says Nothing (Yale Repertory Theatre); New Domestic ArchitectureWomen Beware Women, costumes for Titus Andronicus (Yale School of Drama); The Bitter Tears of Petra von KantBoris YeltsinShiny Objects (Yale Cabaret); MidsummerThe Life and Death of Doctor Faustus (Yale Summer Cabaret); Private LivesSome Mother’s SonHedda Gabler (Smith College); RedGod of Carnage, and Mr. Burns, a post-electric play (New Century Theatre). DeLiso’s film and television work includes production and costume design for the full-length independent film BadPuss: A PopumentarySpooners (short), The Stand-ins (web series), and Unforgettable (production assistant). DeLiso was born and raised in a small town in the south of France. She received her BA in theater studies from Smith College in 2012 and her MFA from Yale School of Drama in 2017.