J.D. Hopper

Lighting Designer
Class of 2023


J.D. Hopper (he/him) is a Mexican-American lighting designer, sound designer, photographer, filmmaker, and list enthusiast from San Diego, CA. He has enjoyed working as a freelance lighting designer across the country and in various positions at theaters such as The Old Globe in San Diego and Williamstown Theater Festival. He is looking forward to being based in NYC after graduating in May.

J.D.’s design goals are centered around the creative application of design technology to enhance the collaborative process. He frequently utilizes 3D modeling and rendering as a means to conceptualize and communicate his ideas to collaborators, and has developed workflows to integrate these tools as part of his overall design process. His design work at CMU has demonstrated sophisticated interdisciplinary cohesion, which is motivated by the desire to not know where one design discipline begins or ends in a production.

His primary area of interest lies in lighting for music-based performances. J.D. has had the opportunity to hone this interest having worked on Giulio Cesare for the School of Music, as well as Hair, Natasha Pierre…Great Comet of 1812, and Godspell for the School of Drama. He has also lit a variety of dance styles as part of the School of Drama’s Dance/Light productions.

In 2022, he was selected as an ETC Fred Foster Mentorship student. In 2023, he was selected as a recipient of the Cody Renard Richard Scholarship. Previous credits at CMU include lighting designer for Woyzeck directed by Jacob Musgrove, lighting designer for Godspell directed by Tomé Cousin, and associate sound designer for Natasha, Pierre…Great Comet of 1812 directed by Tomé Cousin. You can view his work at jdhopper.com.