Architect and scenographer
Sabine Theunissen studied architecture in La Cambre, Brussels.
After one year at the technical office of La Scala of Milan, she joined the Royal Theater of la Monnaie (Brussels) where she worked 17 years as internal decor assistant in the design office.
In 2003, she met William Kentridge. Their collaboration begins with Magic Flute (creation Royal Theater of La Monnaie 2005).
Since then, she designed sets for his opera productions, among which, The Nose (Met Nyc 2010), Refuse the Hour (Johannesburg 2012), Refusal of Time (Documenta XIII, Kassel 2012), Winterreise (Vienna Festival, June 2014), Lulu (Met NYC, Duch National Opera, English National Opera 2015), Wozzeck (Salzburg Festival 2017, Met Nyc 2019, Sydney Opera 2019), The Head and the Load (Tate Modern London, Ruhr Triennale, Armory NYC 2018, Holland Festival 2019), Waiting for the Sibyl (Rome Opera 2019), Prima Donna (Kungliga Operan AB, Stockholm October 2020).
She also designed Kentridge’s art installations and exhibitions among which Notes towards a model opera (exhibition, Beijing, Seoul, 2015), No it is (exhibition Gropius Bau, Berlin 2015), Thick Times (exhibition White Chapel-Louisiana-Salzburg-Manchester 2016), Smoke Ashes and Fables (exhibition in Bruges 2017), O Sentimental Machine (exhibition in Frankfurt, Liebig Haus 2018), Quello che non riccordo (exhibition in Art gallery, Sydney 2018), Why should I hesitate (Cape Town 2019), Un poème qui n’est pas le nôtre… (exhibition in LaM, Lille February 2020), Why should I hesitate, Putting Drawings to Work (Diechtorhallen, Hamburg October 2020).
Based in Brussels, she is simultaneously working with other directors choreographers, among which her sister Hélène Theunissen for whom she designed sets for La Dispute, Marrakech (Brussels 2012) and Midsummer night’s dream (Brussels 2017).
She recently designed sets for Bug and Othello staged by Aurore Fattier.
She also collaborated with the choreographer Michèle Noiret for Hors Champs (2015) and Radioscopie (2016) and with the director Lillo Baur for Ariane and Barbe Bleue (Opera de Dijon 2012). She is working with the filmakers Mary Jimenez and Bénédicte Liénard on the dyptic Sortir du Noir produced by Liège Theater.
She designed other exhibitions among which The Body in Indian art (Europalia Festival, Brussels October 2013) and 1000m2 of desire (CCCB, Barcelona, September 2016).
She is frequently invited for lecturing in art and architecture schools, like Stockholm University, Pavillon Bosio (Monaco), La Cambre (Brussels), Fine art school (Tournai), Eye museum (Amsterdam)…
She constantly welcomes interns in her studio or on assignment (students of art, architecture, interior architecture, Belgian or foreign) and trains them through practice for the profession of scenographer.
In 2016, she created the Squatelier, her studio where she develops her projects and research as a team. Workshop life occupies an important place in her practice and offers interns a framework conducive to learning and emulation.