Michael B. Raiford’s Scenic and Costume Designs for Theatre, Ballet and Opera have been seen throughout the US and internationally. His nomination for the “Prix Benois de la Dance” at the Bolshoi in Moscow is a highlight of a long list of acknowledgements for his unique visual creative voice. Known as a “dramaturgical designer”, he is drawn to new work and the insight it takes to create a new world that has never been seen. With a background in music, Michael has a particular proclivity for how life needs orchestration, be it on stage or in an arena. His insight to performers’ needs is also propelled by his interest in performance coaching and direction.
Recent highlights of his work include: Septime Webers’ “The Wizard of OZ”. A co-production of Kansas City Ballet, The Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Denver Ballet. It will soon be seen in Hong Kong and Australia ( Prix Benois de la Dance Best scenic design nomination ). “ Blast, the Music of Disney”: Tokyo plus National Tour of Japan. Michael was the director and co- creator/stager for this musical spectacle. “There and Back” by Raul Garza. This was an emotional process that explored generational immigration. It was rehearsed in LA, produced in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, then moved back to LA to observe the perspective of community response in both countries.
Other Stage highlights include: Opera Boston; Arizona Theatre Company; City Theatre Pittsburgh; The New Victory Theatre, NYC; South Coast Repertory; The Alliance Theatre, Atlanta; GEVA Theatre; Playmakers Rep.; Actor’s Theatre of Louisvile; Ford’s Theatre, Washington, DC; Cleveland Playhouse; Kansas City Rep; The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Florida; Ballet Austin; Central City Opera; Merrimak Rep; The Antaeus Company in LA and Austin Lyric Opera. Micheal’s next stage adventure will “The Nutcracker” for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Michael’s journey to the stage began as a choreographer and show creator in Drum Corps International, Marching Bands and Winter Indoor Ensembles. He has Directed, Staged, Designed and Choreographed in DCI, BOA and WGI for over 30 years. He has He is very fortunate to have had a project in a National or Regional finals for 29 years running including more that 25 appearances in a National Finals and 8 national titles.
DCI Highlights: Currently on the design team and performance coach for The Bluecoats. Also: The Cavaliers, Academy, The Troopers, The Glassmen, Magic of Orlando and Suncoast Sound, where he started his design and staging career.
BOA Highlights ( Nat or Reg finals: Design and/or staging) The Woodlands HS, Fishers HS, Lawrence Township, Union HS, Cypress Falls HS, Berkner HS, James Bowie HS, Ayala HS, Harrison HS, Pearland HS and Plymouth Canton Educational Park,
WGI Highlights: Currently design team/performance coach for Monarch Percussion. 5 time World Champion “Fantasia”: Michael worked as a creative collaborator and as the Production Designer and Performance Coach. Also: Blessed Sacrament and San Jose Raiders. Michael
has also worked for WGI teaching design and performance workshops as well as an overview contributor for WGI Regionals.
Michael received his MFA in Design the University of Texas at Austin, where he subsequently taught for 10 years. He has made guest appearances as a guest lecturer and Artist for multiple institutions, currently designing a production at Texas State University. Michael remains dedicated to the development of new works and the education of young artists and performers. Especially LGBTQ+ and underserved youth.
Michael is represented by Leah Hamos at the Gersh Agency and is a member of United Scenic Artist Local 129. To see designs , please go to.