Partner Marion J. Kinsella

Queer Places:
Porcher House, 434 Delannoy Ave, Cocoa, FL 32922

Nananne Porcher (December 14, 1922 - June 17, 2001) was a theater lighting designer and theater design consultant. Jean Rosenthal shared long-term domestic living arrangements with Nananne Porcher and Marion J. "Mickey" Kinsella. In a 1956 New Yorker profile story, it is mentioned that she was sharing an apartment with Nananne Porcher. Porcher, hired in the early days of the Theatre Production Service (TPS), is described as having become Rosenthal’s “invaluable stage manager for ballet and opera” (and later resident lightining designer for the American Ballet Theatre and president of Jean Rosenthal Associates).

Nananne Porcher was born on December 14, 1922, in La Grange, GA, the daughter of Arthur G. Porcher and Katherine W. Callaway, of Cocoa and La Grange, Ga. Porcher was the granddaughter of Edward P. Porcher and Byrnina M. Peck Porcher, builders and first owners of the historic Porcher House in downtown Cocoa Village.

 Porcher was raised in the Porcher House and later graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina in 1944, where she studied with legendary lighting designer Jean Rosenthal, and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts from the same institution in 1980.

Porcher was best known for her work in dance. She was the stage manager and technical director for the companies of Martha Graham and José Limón and the New York City Ballet. She was also the touring lighting designer and technical director for City Ballet as well as American Ballet Theater and Jerome Robbins's Ballets: U.S.A. She is thought to have been the first American stage manager to work on programs at the Paris Opera, Rome Opera and La Scala. She also designed the lighting for solo ballet and opera performers like Rudolf Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Teresa Berganza and Joan Sutherland. She was a major collaborator with Frank Corsaro, the opera director, in the mid-1970's, helping to develop systems to meld lighting, film and projections in multimedia productions for the New York City Opera and Opera Society of Washington.

As designer, Nananne Porcher's many credits include a ballet version of Jean Genet’s The Maids (New York Ballet Theatre Workshop, 1957), Sylvia (ABT, 1964) Agon (ABT, 1965), Peter and the Wolf (ABT, 1966), Giselle (ABT, 1966), The Combat (ABT, 1966), the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s Antony and Cleopatra, which opened the new Metropolitan Opera House in 1966, La Sylphide (ABT, 1966), the Broadway musical Ari (1971), Paquita (ABT, 1971), the world premiere of Beatrix Cenci (Opera Society of Washington, DC, 1971), the musical Prettybelle, which closed out of town in 1971, Diana and Acteon (ABT, 1973), the Scott Joplin opera Treemonisha (Broadway, 1974), the musical Robert and Elizabeth (Paper Mill Playhouse, 1982). Other productions included La Fille Mal Gardee (ABT) and Die Todt Stadt at New York City Opera. The latter was part of a close collaboration with opera director Frank Corsaro on productions that blended scenery, lighting, and projections.

Porcher was perhaps best known as a theatre consultant, whose projects included the Carolina Theatre at the North Carolina School for the Arts and the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ. In 1975 She became president of Jean Rosenthal Associates in 1976; both the Rosenthal company and Osprey Designs, which succeeded it, specialized in the design of technical systems for theaters. Working with her longtime companion, Marion Kinsella, she consulted on both new theatres and renovations, and for unusual projects such as the lighting of Niagara Falls. She also received an honorary doctorate from the North Carolina School of the Arts in 1980.

Porcher died on June 17, 2001. She was 78 and lived in West Tisbury, Mass. The cause was cancer, said Marion J. Kinsella, her companion.

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