Mary Ivory Smith has worked in the theater since high school, “back in the Dark Ages when women weren't allowed to do lighting.” To prove her drama teacher wrong and show that women can do lighting, Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in Drama and History from the University of the Pacific and a graduate degree in Lighting Design and Production Management from CalArts.
After working in Los Angeles and San Jose, CA for several years, Smith moved to Dallas in 1990, where she designed lights for Dallas Children’s Theater, the Gryphon Players, Bishop Lynch High School, Dallas Black Dance Theater and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, where she also taught lighting design. Smith worked at Norcostco, and became a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 127. She was also resident lighting designer at Atlantic Southeast Ballet in Charleston, SC.
In 2005, Smith moved to Lafayette, LA and became technical director and facility manager for the Ducrest-Guilfry Auditorium at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). She later joined the ULL Performing Arts Department as an adjunct faculty member in Technical Theater.
Recently, Mary relocated to Boise, Idaho where she is the Resident Lighting Designer at the Cornerstone Dance Company.