With degrees in both film production and educational theatre, Blake approaches performance and theater with a unique point of view that recognizes and values the history of traditional performance, while simultaneously embracing the possibilities and realities of visual culture and digital technology. Blake believes the performing arts offer an opportunity to celebrate human experience, and dedicates himself to projects that provide a new perspective or offer a voice to marginalized populations.
Most recently, Blake spent two years developing Play/Date with a team of playwrights, actors and directors, culminating in a commercial run co-produced by 3-Legged Dog in Manhattan. As a director, Blake’s projects range from adaptions of Shakespeare performed in schools throughout New York City to site-specific performance in Astoria Park. Blake is also an accomplished designer, having created sound, projections, or scenic elements for productions Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, in festivals, and at numerous schools and universities.
Blake is the Creator and Executive Producer of Play/Date, an immersive theatrical experience that premiered in New York in October 2013. The production features over 20 new plays written by seventeen different playwrights with the audience creating their own experience by choosing which characters to follow and which dates what watch – creating something akin to socially acceptable voyeurism. The show had a sold-out run at Penny Farthing and is currently playing at Fat Baby on the Lower East Side.
To learn more, visit www.playdateny.com.
Playwright and director Enda Walsh gave Blake his first projection design credit back in 2005 for the North American premiere of Walsh’s chatroom. Since then, Blake’s designs have been seen at Dixon Place, Theatre Row, La Mama ETC, Provincetown Playhouse, and the Clemente Soto Velez Center, among others, and his work has been called “so good [it's] almost distracting” (nytheatre.com).
As a designer, that ‘almost’ is key – Blake believes in the power of live performance and designs for an increasingly visual culture without upstaging the work on stage. For MCC Theater, Blake designed projections for the Youth Company, including the sample seen here.
With training in sound recording, editing, and mixing (as well as an embarrassingly large music library), Blake is an adept sound designer. For The Class Project with frequent collaborator Joe Salvatore, Blake designed projections and sound using a mixture of recorded music and found audio – all sourced from educational videos about social class produced by the U.S. government. Visit Joe’s website to learn more.
After a decade living in New York City, Blake is particularly attuned to the impact physical space and design can have on an individual – and design for performance is no different. After multiple courses in art direction and production design for film, Blake studied scenic design under Troy Hourie at New York University.
In 2010, Blake had the opportunity to design both sets and projections for a new musical by Jon Lorenz, directed by Amy Cordileone, and based on Lewis Carroll’s novel. For additional photos from Alice: The Looking-Glass Girl, click here.