Designers

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Cordelia Chisholm

Cordelia Chisholm designed Cosi Fan Tutte 08 and Ariadne auf Naxos for RSAMD. Cordelia studied English Literature at Cambridge University before training on the Motley Theatre Design Course. Opera designs include: Hansel and Gretel (Opera North), Marriage of Figaro and Peter Grimes (Surrey Opera Company), Turandot, Herodiade and Nabucco (Dorset Opera), Tales of Hoffmann (Guilford Opera Company). Theatre designs include: Sshadow Language (Theatre 503), The Dubya Trilogy: The Madness of George Dubya, A Weapon’s Inspector Calls, and Guantanamo Baywatch (New Players Theatre), 100º Fahrenheit (Southwark Playhouse), Touched (Rada), Hamelyn Heights (Young Vic Studio), Incarcerator (Old Red Lion), The Winter’s Tale (Creation Theatre Company), An Axe for the Frozen Ssea (Bedlam Theatre Company), Dateless Wonder (Arts Depot and tour) Masks and Faces (Finborough). Costume designs include: Oorlando and La Sscala di Sseta (Independent Opera at Sadlers Wells), Taboos and Talk About the Passion (New End Theatre), Twelfth Night (Creation Theatre Company), The Wedding (Southwark Playhouse and tour).

Her Academy productions include Ariadne auf Naxos

Anna Jones

Her Academy productions include Kaspar Hauser and Albert Herring

Susannah Henry

Her Academy productions include Mother Goose and Pinocchio

Edward Gordon Craig

Edward Gordon was born on 16 January 1872 at Stevenage in Hertforshire and died on 19 July 1966.He was born as Edward Gordwin by the age of 16 years baptized as Edward Hendry Gordon and by the age of 21years he took the surname Craig by deed poll. Edward Gordon Craig's father William Godwin was an architect with a passion for the theatre. Craig's mother Ellen Terry was an actress.

He was always in the atmosphere of theatre from an early age and his mother used to take him to the shows both the ones she was in and ones she wasn't. He never got any formal training in terms of acting he learned by watching others and listened to their advices.He made his first appearance on stage at the age of six in Olivia adaptation of Goldsmith's Vicar of Wakefield in which his mother was acting at the Court Theatre.By the age of 16 years he got his first professional job as an actor and he had become an actor as the first step in his career. He played Joey the gardner's boy in Eugene Aram and his mother was acting in it.He worked as an actor in the company of Sir Hendry Irving but became interested in art of learning to carve wood under the instruction of James Pryde and William Nicholson.

Seen as one of the 3 giants leading against realism in the late 1800s/early 1900s (along with Appia & Reinhardt).

Finished an acting career in 1897 to become a designer, his first few productions being in a traditional format for the time. First revolutionary steps began in 6 shows he produced between 1900-1903. Funding was dificult to get as he was a dificult person to work with. Refused to direct any shows where he didn't have complete artistic control. Two main staples of his work - that began as accidents due to venues and lack of time - were leveled stages/flooring and building scenes "around a single emblematic property" (A Vision of Theatre, page 47. Available from RSAMD library).

Also done a lot of work on movement of actors, devising his own method of blocking for dance using lines for the body and a triangle as the direction of the head, lighting, becoming one of the first people to ditch footlights and light from overhead and costume, refusing to have traditional costumes and instead ones that had more of a representation of the character.

He moved to Germany after finding finacial success in Britain in 1904 while there he wrote one of his most famous work 'The Art of the theatre' later reprinted with the title 'ON THE ART OF THEATRE' ( the copy of this book is available from RSAMD library).He was active as a producer before he began to write down his ideas which became the motto of the first theatre international magazine 'THE MASK' which he was the editor and chief writer.

In December 1911 after being invited by Moscow Arts Theatre to direct one of their productions (Hamlet).He settled in Italy and created a school of theatrical design with support from Lord Howard de Walden.

Maria Bjornson

Bo Welch

Bo welch was born 30th November 1951. He worked as a production deigner in collaboration with Tim Burton films. He created many productions such as " Beetle juice" , "Batman Returns" , "Edward Scissorhands" and men in black aswell as many others. He also directed " cat in the hat". His inspiring work made him get nominated for four oscar awards. His sets were made so that it could be family orrientated to give a great deal of interest to many people. The main idea of his sets is to produce an entertaining and dynamic vision of fiction.His use of colours and 3D graphical effectiness made his work very different from other designers, with the fascinating magical storylines that were used to give an un ordinary and unusaul feel to an audience. His other main role that he was known for was creating many different lighting designs for several theatres. including "Aladin" in Newyork which turned out to be a huge success and because of the fact it was a ballet production it gave it a whole different appearance. Over all I feel Bo welch is a very interesting and rewarding designer who has created many entertaining and effective pieces of work for theatre.

Penny Saunders / Forkbeard Fantasy

Forkbeard Fantasy was formed by Chris and Tim Britton in 1974. Penny Saunders joined in 1980, later joined by Ed Jobling who preforms as well as operating light and sound and also by Robin Thorburn for the lighting and cinematography.

All are seen as equal in every part of the collaboration process, they prefer the term "Artistic style of expression" in terms of how they develop their ideas. All are open to experimenting with any kind of medium in any kind of way. There work pushes the limits and boundaries of traditional theatre. Film, projection, pupperty, mechanic's, animation, interactive installations have all featured in their work.

"The approach has always been 'What is we tried this? and why not?"

Many of Forkbeard's puppets and costumes are three dimentional realissations of Tim Brittons cartoons. Penny is the person who adapts them to suit the preformer. Forkbeard's work is all very quirky and mainly for entertainment's sake, mixing the obsure, dark fantasy with humour. They are based in Devon where the have studio's and 'Penny's barn' where a lot of wonderful creations are brought to life. They offer workshops and a summer school for the public.

They are known for such works and Rough Magyck, The Usherettes, Invisible Bonfires, Frankenstien and lots more. More information on their performances and work can be found on their website and on YouTube which has clips of some of there work. Invisible Bonfires is advertised on there which is based around climate change. It's advertisement picture shows a picture of three men with steaming chimmeny's attached to their heads.

www.forkbeardfantasy.co.uk

Quotes and information on Penny Saunders and Forkbeard Fantasy have been taken from the book 'Collaborators, UK Design for Performance 2003-2007 SBTD'

Gerald Scarfe

Gerald Scarfe first started drawing as a child when he was diagnosed and bedridden with severe asthma. It became an entertainment and creative outlet. Its speculated that the grotesque and diseased images he produces are a result of this experience. He studied at the Royal college of art in London but established himself as a satirical cartoonist as part of his work with magazines punch and private eye during his early studies. Scarfe made a short animation called “a long drawn out trip” which caught the eye of pink floyd’s roger walters and nick mason this lead on to his first work for the band, a set of animated clips used on the wish you were here tour, including full length video for welcome to the machine. He then moved on to design and direct the animation for the full length film version of the wall. He was also involved in the theatrical adapatation of the wall concert in berlin where his animations were projected on a vast scale. This lead onto his move to design set and costume for theatre shows. One of the first shows he designed for is one everyone here should be familiar with and its “what the butler saw” by joe Orton in 1978 at the oxford playhouse. This featured scarfes trademark cartoons spread on the walls of the doctors surgery. At a first glance it looks a little strange and intimidating but once you analyze the play it seems to work quite well. He then went on to design set and costumes for the opera “opheus in the underworld” by Offenbach for the English national opera at the London colliseum in 1985. The backcloth for act 1 -“the transformation”shows what was going on behind closed doors. The houses swung round to show their other sides. The last backcloth- "The food in heaven being so deadly dull- nothing but ambrosia for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The gods descend to hades for a jolly good feed".

In 1997, Scarfe designed the set for The magic flute. The main design feature was a giant pyramid that dominated the stage in Act 1, upon seeing the designs the director decided the pyramid should be reflected in all acts. The backgrounds were not painted backcloth's, but were projected, meaning that they could have many changing sky moods throughout as blood-red sky gave way to black and thunderous sky. Most fun of all were the animals that Tamino enchants out of the forest with his magic flute. With these scarfe made half one animal and half another: Tigoon was half tiger, half baboon; and there was a Crocoguin, a Giraffstrich (on stilts) and a Zebkey. In 1998 Tobias picker adapted Roald Dahls well known book fantastic Mr fox into an opera and Scarfe was chosen to design the set and costumes. In 2002 Scarfe designed for his first ballet the nutcracker with the English national ballet. It featured dancers jumping out of a giant fridge as jack frosts and snowflakes swirling into the kingdom of sweets. There were also soldiers landing by parachute and terrorist mice who lived in a giant fruitcake, needless to say the design caused some controversy before it was even staged.

Peter Docherty

  • Peter Docherty was born In Blackpool, He studied Theatre Design at the Central School of Arts & Crafts and the Slade School Of Fine Art.
  • As founding organiser of Action Against Aids he was responsible for putting on charity shows in 1986 & 1987.
  • Formerly a guest Lecturer at the Wimbledon School Of Art, He is presently senior Lecturer In theatre Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and leading the Design of the performance Research Project.
  • A major process that makes him different from any other designer, is Peter always looks at the Lighting first and actors, so he works arond the directors blocking and not the other way round.

he has designed many Opera's, Musicals and theatre performances including:-

  • "Side by side" By sondheim (1976, London & New York, Directed by Ned Sherrin)
  • "Celebration" (1969, Royal Court Theatre, Directed by Lindsay Anderson)
  • "The Plays The Thing" (1979, Greenwich Theatre, directed by Alan Strachan)
  • "The Adventures of M.Broucek", ENO
  • "An Actor's revenge" English Music Theatre.

Information from "Design for Perormace" Available from RSAMD Libary (792.025 DESI)


  • 1967 "Mogadon", Worth, Royal Ballet's ballet for All.
  • 1968 "Ephemeron" Darrell, Western Theatre Ballet Picture:- [1]
  • 1970 "Herodias" Darrell, Scottish Theatre Ballet.
  • 1971 "Le baiser de la Fee" Hynd, Bayerische Ballet.
  • 1972 "In a summer garden" Hynd, sadler's wells Royal Ballet, sadler's wells, London.
  • 1973 "Tales Of Hoffmann" Darrell, American Ballet Theatre
  • 1974 "Charlotte Bronte" Hynd, Sadler's wells Ballet
  • 1975 "Alses Nobles et Sentimentales" Hynd, New London Ballet
  • 1976 "Mary, Queen of scots" Darrell, Scottish Ballet
  • 1978 "A Chatte" Hynd, London Festival Ballet Wiki Site:- [2]
  • 1979 "Rosalinda" Hynd London Festival Ballet
  • 1980 "Les valses" hynd Les Grande Ballet
  • 1985 "Der Facher" Hynd, Bayerische Staatosoper Ballet
  • 1988 "Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hynd, Housten Ballet
  • 1989 "Le Diable a Quatre" Hynd, Ballet de Santiago Ballet
  • 1990 "George and the Dragon" hamilton Dance Limited, Dance
  • 1991 "More about Angels" Hamilton Dance Limited, Dance
  • 1993 "The Sleeping Beauty" Hynd, English National Ballet, (Cambridge Theatre)
  • 1995 "The Merry Widow" Hynd Ballet of Chile.

Theoni V. Aldredge

Alternate Names: Denny Aldredge / Denny Vachlioti / Deni Vachliotov

Date of Birth 22 August 1932, Salonika, Greece

Broadway credits Follies (2001 revival) Annie (1997 revival) The Three Sisters (1997 revival) The School for Scandal (1995 revival) Nick & Nora (1991) The Secret Garden (1991) Oh, Kay! (1990 revival) Gypsy (1989 revival) Chess (1988) Dreamgirls (1987 revival) The Rink (1984) La Cage aux Folles (1983) Private Lives (1983 revival) Dreamgirls (1981) Onward Victoria (1981) Woman of the Year (1981) 42nd Street (1980) Barnum (1980) Ballroom (1979) The Grand Tour (1979) Annie (1977) Threepenny Opera (1977 revival) The Belle of Amherst (1976) A Chorus Line (1975) That Championship Season (1972) Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971) The Only Game in Town (1968) I Never Sang for My Father (1968) Little Murders (1967) Illya Darling (1967) A Delicate Balance (1966) Cactus Flower (1965) Luv (1964) Anyone Can Whistle (1964) I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1962) The Best Man (1960)

Selected filmography' The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) The First Wives Club (1996) Mrs. Winterbourne (1996) Addams Family Values (1993) Moonstruck (1987) Ghost Busters (1984) Annie (1982) Can't Stop the Music (1980) Loving Couples (1980) The Rose (1979) Eyes of Laura Mars (1978) The Cheap Detective (1978) Network (1976) The Great Gatsby (1974) I Never Sang for My Father (1970) Last Summer (1969)

Broadway awards and nominations • 2001 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Follies, nominee) • 1991 Tony Award Best Costume Design (The Secret Garden, nominee) • 1990 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Gypsy, nominee) • 1984 Tony Award Best Costume Design (La Cage aux Folles, winner) • 1984 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (La Cage aux Folles, winner) • 1982 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Dreamgirls, nominee) • 1982 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Dreamgirls, nominee) • 1981 Tony Award Best Costume Design (42nd Street, nominee) • 1981 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (42nd Street, winner) • 1981 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Onward Victoria, nominee) • 1980 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Barnum, winner) • 1979 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Ballroom, nominee) • 1979 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Ballroom, nominee) • 1977 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Annie, winner) • 1977 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Threepenny Opera, nominee) • 1977 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Annie, winner) • 1976 Tony Award Best Costume Design (A Chorus Line, nominee) • 1976 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Trelawny of the Wells, nominee) • 1974 Tony Award Best Costume Design (The Au Pair Man, nominee) • 1973 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Much Ado About Nothing, nominee) • 1973 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Much Ado About Nothing, winner) • 1972 Tony Award Best Costume Design (Two Gentlemen of Verona, nominee) • 1972 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Two Gentlemen of Verona, winner) • 1970 Drama Desk Award Outstanding Costume Design (Peer Gynt, winner) • 1961 Tony Award Best Costume Design (The Devil's Advocate, nominee)

Maria Bjornson

Maria Bjornson was regarded by her peers as Britain’s most inspired set and costume designer. She designer over 120 productions over the years of her career and was considered ahead of her contemporaries in scope and quality. Maria was known for her compassion, sense of humour, lack of ego and creative genius. She had many devoted friends who admired and loved her. Her life was a story of love and tragedy as she died unexpectedly in the bath at the age of 53 on Friday 13th December 2002. Maria grew up as Maria prodan, her mother came from a good family but when the Nazis came to Romania they became refugees and lost all their money. Marias mother mica was smuggled to Norway where she was entrusted to a family friend Bjorn Bjornson, a womaniser who made her pregnant then left her. Mia fled to France and studied French and phonetics, then Maria was born.

Maria and her mother were penniless refugees. They became intensely bonded and struggled together as the ‘fearless pair’ against the world to survive. Maria was born with a cleft palate which gave her a strangely nasal voice and when she became an adult she was inhibited by a stammer. Her loneliness as a child compelled her to create an inner life peopled by imaginary and exotic friends. From early childhood she drew page after page of brightly coloured, costumed people, each with his/her own story. It was a world full of colour, drama, whirling fabrics, jewels and feathers, and her first stage sets were actually interiors of dolls houses. At 14, mia took Maria to ceal Collins at the csa in London to discuss our future. He immediately recognised her talents and suggested mia should encourage her to become a theatrical designer rather than a painter, and mia did this passionately, and went out to raise money for Maria to study at the school.

Maria became a British citizen in 1987 against her mothers wishes. After this she found out she had been registered at birth with her fathers name so she began to use it as it was one to be proud of. Her great grandfather Bornstein Bjornson won a Nobel prize in 1093 and her uncle was the 1st director of the Norwegian national theatre. Mia had a stroke before Marias death and couldn’t speak or write, so Maria ended up buying a house across the street and visited her several times a day Maria had one lasting relationship with senior scenic artist Malcolm key, who became her lasting partner until she dies even though they lived separately. Maria started to make money from her work but she gave a lot of this to charity including a Romanian children’s home and the Romanian screen writers and authors association. She also spent a lot of time advising students at the st martin school or art in London, where she helped a lot of aspiring designers.

A month before she died, Maria delivered the complete designs for the new bbc opera the little prince. She worked on countless famous productions, some large, some small, her range was enormous. Maria was an woman with aspiration and constantly over worked. The day before she dies she worked for 15 hours non stop even though she had chicken pox. The only time she had a break was some years ago when she was falsely accused of designed two shows at once. She was depressed and publicly humiliated as some of her work got bad reviews. Letters from fans and admirers helped her through this. Her main ambition was to become a professional sculptress but she never achieved this as she had no free time.

Maria won many awards for her work but her greatest fame came from the phantom of the opera, with her glamorous sets and costumes. She won numerous awards for this including two Tony awards, two outer critics circle awards and two drama critic awards. A quote from Cameron mackintosh, just after Maria died, sums her up extremely well “everyone who worked with Maria fell under her spell and was amazed by her devotion and attention to detail”

Eugene Lee

Eugene Lee is a reknowned designer perhaps best known for his habit of redesigning theatres to accomodate a play, often repositioning exits, lights, walls, and even seating so that audiences often find themselves inside of on top of or under a set. Defiantly traditional, and despite the complexity of some of his designs, Lee begins his process the same way: with a pencil and sketch pad, hunched over an antique oak drafting table in the overcrowded studio he shares with an assistant. Throughout his five-decade career, Lee has stubbornly hewn to his values. He uses real, rusty metal, not painted wood . He creates set doors and windows that actually open and close. He puts the audience close to the actors, and makes their seating uncomfortable if it's right for the production.

He has received three Tony awards for best scenic design for Bernstein’s Candide, Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd and Wicked. Other New York theatre work includes Alice in Wonderland, The Normal Heart, Agnes of God, Ragtime, Uncle Vanya, Ruby Sunrise and A Number. Film credits include Coppola’s Hammett, Huston’s Mr. North and Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street. He has also been set designer for 'Saturday Night Live' on NBC since 1975. Lee is the resident designer in a regional theatre in Providence called Trinity Rep where he has been for thirty-five years and his current project is The Seussical, a musical based on the writings of Dr. Seuss, with music and lyrics by Steven Flaherty and Lynne Ahrens and directed by Frank Galati.

He is also finding time for a personal project, renovating the theatre at Hope High School, which is just down the street from his home in Provindence. Lee paid to have it cleaned up, got a fabric supplier to donate material for a curtain, sent an architect and a builder to draw up a preliminary budget. The $9.1 million project is awaiting a green light from the mayor. "It'll be a little arts complex," he says, "potentially as good as any on Broadway. It's worth doing right. And it can be accomplished." His passion for this project stems from his own high school memories of the great stage on which he first designed. He has said that he would probably not be in theatre if not for it.

Lez Brotherston

Lez is currently Associate Artist with New Adventures, working with their Director, Choreographer Matthew Bourne.

Originally interested in becoming a Stage Manager, Lez applied to the Central School of Speech and Drama. Working at the Warehouse, a designer there told him that stage management was not what he thought it would be and that his skills lay in designing. With this in mind he turned down his place and completed his A levels and studied Art and Design O Levels at the same time. He got a place at the Central School of Art & Design and went into making props for the film industry. His CV includes The Last Emperor, Highlander and Letter to Brezhnev.

After working with Christopher Gable at Northern Ballet Theatre, Lez moved his design work into the dance arena where he has gone on to push the boundaries in dance/theatre design. An interview with Lez and pictures of some of his design work can be seen here [3]

Dance Credits: Edward Scissorhands (New Adventures), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Adam Cooper Productions), Cinderella, Swan Lake, Highland Fling (New Adventures), Carmen, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Romeo & Juliet (Northern Ballet Theatre)

Theatre Credits: Design for Living, A Woman of No Importance, Nude with Violin (Manchester Royal Exchange), Bedroom Farce, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Alarms and Excursions (West End), Resencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Royal National Theatre)

Awards: Tony Award for Swan Lake (1999), Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Set and Costumes for Cinderella (1998) and a Critic's Circle Award for his outstanding achievement in design for dance. He has had six Olivier nominations to date

More of Lez's CV can be found here [4]