The Team

Redesigning Theater:

Michael Sturtz


Michael Sturtz
Director: ReDesigning Theater
Lecturer: Mechanical Engineering Design

Michael has been an innovative teacher, builder and facilitator for more than 20 years in a variety of fields. His ability to approach any creative challenge with tenacity and innovation has made him a leader in the world of art and theater, opening new frontiers for cross-disciplinary collaboration. From his early years rebuilding cars and dissecting road-kill with his father, a surgeon, Michael has always been fascinated with the elegance and intricacies of how things work. He found early success as a sculptor, fabricator, and product designer and earned his BFA from Alfred University and MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1999 Michael set out to reinvent the idea of arts education, founding an art school that encouraged a truly non-competitive learning environment. The Crucible started with only a conceptual design and a grant for $1,750, but quickly grew under Michael’s leadership to become the largest nonprofit industrial arts education facility in the country. Michael designed the facilities and programs, welcoming 90 faculty and over 8,000 students every year. As part of The Crucible’s marketing and development outreach, Michael designed, directed, and produced stunning theatrical events uniting industrial arts processes with stagecraft and all manner of performing arts. His Fire Arts Festivals, Fire Operas, and Fire Ballets defined a new genre of entertainment in the Bay Area and attracted audiences from around the country. After twelve years at the helm, Michael moved on to seek new creative challenges and found his place at Stanford.

Throughout his multifarious career Michael has relished the “impossible” challenges, believing that determination and creativity, guided by informed design, are the essential ingredients to make dreams into reality.



Matthew Tiews
ReDesigning Theater Co-Executive Creative Director
Executive Director of Arts Programs

Matthew Tiews assumed the newly created role of Executive Director of Arts Programs in 2010. He was formerly the associate director of the Stanford Humanities Center, where he was responsible for overseeing programming and operations, and was particularly active in developing collaborations bringing together the arts and the humanities. Prior to that, he worked at the Townsend Center for the Humanities at UC Berkeley, the Stanford Humanities Laboratory, and as managing editor of the journal Modernism/modernity. Tiews holds a Ph.D. from Stanford in Comparative Literature and is co-editor of the multidisciplinary publication Crowds (Stanford University Press, 2007), which won the Modernist Studies Association book prize.


Bill Burnett


Bill Burnett
ReDesigning Theater Co-Executive Creative Director
Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford
Consulting Assistant Professor

After years of drawing cars and airplanes under his Grandmother’s sewing machine, Bill Burnett went off to the University and discovered, much to his surprise, that there were people in the world who did this kind of thing everyday (without the sewing machine) and they were called designers. Twenty years, five companies, and a couple of thousand students later Bill is still drawing and building things, teaching others how to do the same, and quietly enjoying the fact that no one has discovered that he is having too much fun.

Bill Burnett is a Consulting Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering and currently the Executive Director of the Design Program. He manages the undergraduate and graduate program in design at Stanford, both joint programs between the Mechanical Engineering department and the Art department. He received his B.S. and M.S. in Product Design at Stanford and has worked professionally on a wide variety of projects ranging from award-winning Apple portable computers to the original Hasbro Star Wars action figures. He holds a number of mechanical and design patents and design awards for a variety of products including the first “true slate” computer. In addition to his duties at Stanford, he serves as a board member of D2M, a product design consultancy, Dalson Energy, an alternative energy company focused on developing biomass gasification energy systems for small-scale municipalities, and advises several Internet start-up companies on design strategy.

Bill teaches the senior Capstone Project class, the Graduate Thesis class, a class called “The Designers Voice” and a somewhat mystical version of the only industrial design class taught at Stanford called Formgiving. Formgiving is as much a guided meditation, self-reflection, and group therapy exercise as it is a class about design. One student said that learning form giving this way was like learning to use “the Force”. Bill could not have said it any better.




Andrew Evans Redesigning Theater Graduate & Senior Fellow

Andrew Evans is constantly searching for ways to play. After graduating from Brown University with a B.A. in Engineering, he spent two years designing and building treehouses with Nelson Treehouse and Supply. in Seattle and writing the new DIY Instructional Guide to Treehousing.  Andrew spent 6 years as a theatrical set designer with his work appearing at the Trinity Reparatory Theatre and the NYCFringe Festival.  He has performed as a professional magician for 12 years including international performances in New Zealand, Japan, Myanmar, Great Britain, and France.  Andrew is passionate about the intersection of Magic and Design and his lecture “Designing Wonder” was recently featured in the audition series for TED 2013.  Andrew is currently an M.S. Candidate in Product Design at Stanford University.