Steve Nyberg, Master Builder
Who is Steve Nyberg? He’s a husband, father, son, and a visionary who brings life to theater and theater to life. Born in Painesville, Ohio, Steve was raised all over the United States. His father was a structural engineer and his mother holds a Master’s Degree in information management. They had lived in 11 cities when Steve graduated from high school in Minnesota, where he opted to experience a stationary life for 12 years.
Luckily for Hillbarn Theatre, Steve moved west to Oregon and eventually settled in California, where he met Alison, the woman who became his beautiful wife and the mother of their two children, Eric and Hilary. Their family grew with the addition of Bear and Freyja, two dogs (furbabies) who completed their home.
Steve has a natural gift for designing and building sets. Creativity, design, and craftsmanship are in his DNA. His father, as mentioned, was an engineer, his mother designs and creates beautifully crafted quilts, his great-grandfather was a carpenter and woodworker, and a great uncle built furniture.
It wasn’t formal education, but rather 45 years’ experience that brought Steve to Hillbarn as our Master Builder. A laborer, cabinet builder, union carpenter, general superintendent, and self-employed general contractor, he’s done it all. His children’s performances in musical theatre introduced him to set construction. As a parent volunteer, he designed and built sets for local family theatre companies and schools, continuing to work with schools after his children graduated. Then Hillbarn Theatre called, and it was our good fortune that Steve answered.
Through six degrees of separation, Lee Foster was referred to Steve for set construction assistance with City of Angels (Sept 2011), Producers (May 2012), and Ragtime (Sept 2012). Steve was impressed with Hillbarn’s high bar of excellence, and vice versa. Like clay in his hands, he envisions and molds each design to transform the stage into a work of art. It’s not a passion for theatre that drives him as much as having fun in the production process. It’s the joy and passion of creating that drew him to theatre that he brings to each production and recreates for every audience.
Steve is not shy about taking on new challenges; Give him a design plan and six weeks, he’s willing and able to tackle any show, scenery, or design.
Some of Steve’s favorite set design and build work include Proof, See How They Run, A Little Night Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Spamalot, The Color Purple (Hillbarn); Little Shop of Horrors, Fiddler on the Roof, Urinetown, Cabaret (Hillsdale High School); Narnia,The Music Man (Pied Piper Players); Grease (Borel Dream Theatre); Peter Pan (Bay Area eTc).
Although Steve’s not an actor, he has admirably filled a pretty big role (the back end of a camel in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat). He also has some pretty good moves-just watch his mean dance routine to My Girl. Steve earned the nickname of “El Gato” by his work crews because he’s not afraid of heights.
In between productions Steve retreats to the mountains where he enjoys building furniture and taking long hikes with Bear and Freyja.
We invite you to stop by the theatre any day of the week to meet this humble, gentle and soft-spoken man. You can usually find Steve up on a ladder with a powerdrill or paintbrush in has hands or in the wood shop on the table saw creating beautifully custom made pieces for our articulate sets. Each design brings new challenges and he’s having fun every step of the way!