Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association

Corinne Carrillo keeps returning to the importance of sound design to storytelling. She designs up and down the West Coast, from Cocoanuts at Oregon Shakespeare Festival to an upcoming reimagined Antigone in Los Angeles. An MFA graduate of University of California Irvine, Corinne now teaches at Cal State University, Long Beach. Her resumé includes plays tackling subjects from DACA to the Argentine Dirty War; read on to learn about what she is up to!

What are you working on at the moment?

I currently hold a full time job at Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program as their Sound and Video Supervisor and also teach a beginning sound design course at Cal State University, Long Beach. I designed a devised theatre piece there about DACA recipients called  Dreamers: Aqui y Alla.  I designed the world premiere play about the Argentine Dirty War called  The Madres  at the Skylight Theatre. My next production is a modern telling of  Antigone  with the Fugitive Kind Theater Company that will open in May at the Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.

What is the most exciting thing happening this season that you are not working on?

I really love seeing all of the social justice theater pieces that are popping up in LA.

Where were you born? Where do you live now?

I was born and raised in Orange County California. I currently live in Van Nuys California.

Describe one of your most successful collaborations in the theater. How or why was it successful?

I designed a TYA production of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at South Coast Repertory a few years back. It was a small cast and they all played their own instruments. The cast and design team was made up with designers and actors that I had worked with before and I was familiar with the director and was happy to have had the opportunity to work with her. There was one particular sequence when our little porcelain rabbit was damaged and the script called for this kind of limbo blackout moment. I had recorded some of the actors playing snippets of songs and slowed it down and overlapped with voices. When we added the lighting over the moment it all really came together. The director told me that the sound was was exactly what she had in her head for the moment.

Who or what makes up your support structure?

I rely on my family for a lot of support. I have a huge family and we are all still in Southern California. Even though they are not theater people at all, they still make an effort to understand my problems. I also have a lot of good friends that I met when I was in grad school and I’m happy to say that a lot of them are still in my life!

What is your favorite piece of music at the moment?

Well, I’ve been listening to the radio a lot – Morning Becomes Eclectic every morning –  so I’ve been in an alternative rock mood lately.

Name a pet production peeve.

Not giving ample quiet time to sound designers for cueing and EQing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to work over everyone’s lunch for an hour at a time.

What is your favorite meal during or before tech?

I don’t think I have a favorite meal, but I do have a favorite tech snack: those little bunnie graham crackers from Aunte Annie’s. They are perfect!

Do you play an instrument?


Does your family understand what you do?

Yes and no. I think they understand the artistic aspects of sound design, but they have no idea how technical the job can actually be. Sometimes when I ramble on about a technical problem I can see the glaze appear over their faces.

Did you have a sound design or composition mentor? If so, how did they help or guide you?

Yes, John Fisher at Cal State Fullerton when I was in undergrad there. He has since retired. He really taught me the art of planning – to take the time thinking through my patch and routing back in the days of analog!

Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration in my fellow collaborators on a project. I’m often looking in Dropbox folders to see what other designers have percolating in their brains.

Was there a show or experience that drew you to sound design or composition?

When I was at Cypress College I was assigned sound operator for The Mousetrap as my stage crew that semester. The TD at the time said that if I could operate a home stereo system, I could operate a show. At the end of Act I there was this really complicated sequence where the sound designer had me play two different CDs with rain and thunder and two different cassette tapes with music and a gunshot. The designer had me practice all the time so I could nail it every performance and I did! After that I really liked the idea of the sound design helping tell the story and understood how significant it could be. I was asked to design a show the next semester and I never looked back.

What jobs have you held outside of theatrical sound? Have they contributed to your work in theatrical sound?

When I was in undergrad I worked for a automotive credit company and I also spent some time as a bank teller when I was in high school. Working in corporate America really helped me hone my interpersonal skills. So much of this art is communicating thoughts and ideas over the telephone, email, and in person; I think that that art has been lost over the years.

What programs are we likely to find open on your computer?

Mail, Qlab, Chrome, and Spotify

Was there a piece or type of gear or program that revolutionized how you work?


What do you hope TSDCA can accomplish?

I hope the TSDCA can help garner an understanding about what sound design is and how it contributes to the art of storytelling.

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