Steven Lewis Warner

It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of 16-year Lake Monticello resident Steven Lewis Warner on November 3rd, following a short but rapidly deteriorating heart condition at the young age of 52.  

Steve is known by many in our community, as he has provided support to numerous neighbors over the years with tasks such as fixing lawn mowers or cutting down trees after major storms … never expecting anything in return.  Steve seemingly knew how to do anything, fix everything, and always found a creative solution to every challenge.  He enjoyed playing golf, followed UVA football & basketball with great enthusiasm and absolutely loved living here.  He could be seen daily in the neighborhood, walking his redbone coonhound dog Fred.  He was a loving husband to his wife Bri and a devoted father to their son Alex, with whom he shared a strong passion and appreciation for cars.

Steven was also a beloved professor at the University of Virginia.  A faculty member since 2006, he was an extraordinary teacher and brilliant theatre specialist of unparalleled generosity and good will.  His loss will leave a deep impact across the department, the university, the local community, professional theatre and the entertainment industry.

When he joined the UVA Drama Department in 2006, Steve’s roles included Technical Direction and Operations/Production Management.  He accomplished numerous critical renovations and earned the department a Virginia Safety Star Award.  As Technical Director he supervised dozens of theatre productions during the academic year and the summer Heritage Theatre Festival.

As a teacher, Steve was deeply engaged with both undergraduates and graduates throughout his career, mentoring numerous students who now work in academia, professional theatre and film, and the entertainment industry.  His courses included Scenic Technology and the highly popular Art of the Creature, in which students study the creative and technical arts of modern Hollywood special effects.  Art of the Creature grew out of the Festival of the Moving Creature, a 2013 collaboration between Drama, Architecture, Studio Art, and the Stan Winston School of Character Art that culminated in a memorable parade of creatures from the Arts Grounds to Nameless Field.  In 2018-19, Steve guided his students in the equally memorable “Hallowheels,” in which they designed and created mobile costumes for children with limited mobility. Steve was a Mead Honored Faculty member and the recipient of numerous other university grants and awards.

Prior to joining UVA, Steve received his M.F.A. in Entertainment Production and Management from the University of Delaware in 1999.  He spent several years in the entertainment industry, including with Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Alley Theatre, among others.  From 2000 to 2006 he worked for the world-renowned Cirque de Soleil in Las Vegas, holding production management positions on several shows.  While in Las Vegas, Steve was involved with Christmas in April (known today as Rebulding Together), a program focused on providing critical home repairs to low-income seniors, veterans and individuals with disabilities.

As one of his grad school friends so accurately wrote, “(Steve) centered community.  He had a knack for listening through the noise and discovering the shiny simple truth of ideas and people, and a skill for articulating that true thing with a few words or actions.”  We cannot express how much we miss his kindness, his huge heart, calm demeanor, infinite wisdom, and reassuring presence.  

A Celebration of Steve’s Life will take place at the Culbreth Theater at UVA’s Drama Dept. on Sunday December 4th at 2pm.

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