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People  •  Theatre  •  Teaching Professor

Frances McSherry




  • M.F.A., New York University Tisch School of the Arts
  • B.A. with Honors, Smith College


  • Outstanding Production by a Small Theatre 2015- Albatross- Eliiot Norton Awards
  • Excellence in Overall Design 2014- The Snow Queen-NY Musical Theatre Festival Award-

Professional Experience

  • Professional Costume Designer- both free-lance and as a Resident Designer for over 30 years

Past Clients

  • New Repertory Theatre
  • San Jose Repertory Theatre
  • Merrimack Repertory Theatre
  • Underground Railway Theatre
  • Sugàn Theatre Company
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • 59E59 Theater, NYC
  • Gloucester Stage Co.
  • Stuart Street Playhouse
  • Lyric Stage Company
  • New York City Opera
  • Opera Theatre of St. Louis
  • Glimmerglass Opera Co

Research Focus

  • Costume Design for stage and screen
  • Theatrical Design
  • Fashion History
  • Fashion Theory
  • Global Fashion Studies

Frances Nelson McSherry is a professional costume designer who has worked on shows which have  appeared on stages from Boston to California and internationally. Her favorite projects include new works and world premieres, as well as old favorites told in new ways. She designed costumes for a rock musical called The Snow Queen, featured as a new work at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). Frances’s steampunk infused costumes, along with lighting designer David Lee Cuthbert’s vivid projections, received rave reviews and the NYMF Overall Best Design Award for 2014.

With a lifelong interest in fashion history, Frances enjoys designing shows set in different historical periods. Recent favorites include Amadeus (1795), Black Pearl Sings (1933), A Christmas Carol (1840s), Cabaret (1931), Picasso At The Lapin Agile (1904), The Learned Ladies (1670s), A Streetcar Named Desire (1947), and Ragtime (1900). She has designed at San Jose Repertory Theatre, New York City Opera, Opera Theatre of St Louis, Glimmerglass Opera, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, New Repertory Theatre, Lyric Stage Company, Gloucester Stage Company, Stoneham Theatre Company and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Frances has been teaching theatre design courses at Northeastern since 2004. Responding to the interests of students considering careers in fashion, she recently developed the Global Fashion Studies minor, available to all undergraduate students at Northeastern . She also acts as faculty advisor for the NU Fashion and Retail Society and The Avenue, student organizations focusing on fashion. Frances has spent the last three summers leading Dialogue of Civilization programs in Paris to study fashion history and the fashion industry. Samples of the work done by the students during this study abroad program can be seen on the class blog

Frances received her MFA in Theater Design at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is also a member of United Scenic Artists, Local 829. Production photographs from her favorite shows can be found on her website.

Professional Affiliations

  • United Scenic Artists- Local 829

Courses Taught

  • THTR 1270- Intro to Theatrical Design
  • THTR 1236- Intro to Global Fashion Studies
  • THTR 1237- Intro to Global Fashion Studies Abroad
  • THTR 1000- Theatre at NU
  • THTR 1233- 19th and 20th Century Fashion History In Europe
  • THTR 1235- Fashion and Costume in Film and TV
  • THTR 2380- Costume Design
  • THTR 3700- Rehearsal and Production
  • THTR 1230- Evolution of Fashion and Costume
  • THTR 1131- Technical Theatre 1
  • THTR 2385- Pattern Drafting and Costume Construction
  • THTR 2360- Stage Makeup