About News Portfolio Dance Theatre & Opera Site-based Performances Book Educator Collaborations Contact

Dr. Yaron Abulafia (PhD)

"Light is my tool to spark imagination with.
Beyond illumination, light is my 'invisible story-teller' who stimulates cognition at will.
I am fascinated by light's capacity to stir emotion and impact on behaviour, to recall memories, and to influence how we feel toward our environment and everything in it."

Performance designer Yaron Abulafia has designed over 250 performances in different genres, performative installations, concerts and TV shows internationally.

His designs have been featured at numerous large scale opera and theatre houses like: the Deutsche Oper and the Komische Oper in Berlin, Sadler’s Wells and Royal Opera House – Covent Garden (London), Melbourne Arts Centre, National Operas of Poland, Czech Republic and Israel Monaco Dance Forum, Grand Theatre Luxembourg, Poly Theatre Beijing and Shanghai International Dance Centre, for: Staatsballett Berlin, Nederlands Dans Theater, Stuttgart Ballet, English National Ballet, Shanghai Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, Ballet BC in Vancouver, Ballet Theater Basel and Compañía Nacioanl de Danza in Spain, to mention but a few.

Abulafia designed productions in: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and United States.

"In my humble experience, any great multi-layered stage work depends on the close and sensitive artistic collaboration, on team work, right from the conception of the piece. Whether in small-scale projects with independent artists or in opera houses and national companies, it is the journey with colleague artists that I have interest in."

Dr. Abulafia is the author of the book The Art of Light on Stage: Lighting in Contemporary Theatre (2016), published by Routledge with a foreword by Romeo Castellucci. The book release was followed by 23 book launch events in opera houses and national theatres and festivals around the world. It is the first book published on state-of-the art tendencies of lighting design for contemporary 'post dramatic' performance, approaching lighting design from semiotic and phenomenological perspectives, with reference to cognitive studies and the arts.

He holds a PhD from the department of Arts, Culture and Media at The State University of Groningen in The Netherlands, a Master’s degree (MFA Scenography) from The Frank Mohr Instituut in the Netehrlands, and a B.A. in Theatre Studies from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Abulafia serves as an Ambassador for The Prague Quadrennial for Performance Design & Space (the largest global event celebrating the best of design for performance, scenography and theatre architecture) and participated as Jury Member of The 2019 Prague Quadrennial. In World Stage Design 2013 – organized by OISTAT organization once in 4 years - he served as jury member as well as delivering a keynote talk with Prof. Pamela Howard OBE. He is a visiting lecturer in high demand at universities and art academies around the world.

Abulafia received honours including: the First CEZ Prize for lighting design (supported by PHILIPS) for designing 'Peer Gynt' (Romania, 2008), a nomination for the Knight of Illumination 2011 ('Awakening', Rambert, UK) and the Theatre Lighting Design prize in Israel ('In the Solitude of Cotton Fields', Israel, 2011). In addition, he was awarded special Grants for Excellency by America-Israel Cultural Foundation, The Doron Foundation for Education & Welfare, and a full Ubbo Emmious PhD Scholarship for his research.