Some British Stage Designers 1960 - 2010

1. Koltai
Please follow this Link for further information on Ralph Koltai

2.  Koltai

3. Yeomen
Top Please follow this Link for further information on Peter Goffin

4. Hamlet
Top Please follow this Link for further information on John Bury

5.Les Miserables
Top Please follow this Link for further information on John Napier.

6. Crouch
Top Please follow this Link for further information on Julian Crouch


8. Dr Aromic

9. <Miss Saigon
Sculpted in styrofoam and cast in Monzini, this massive sculpture of Ho Chi Minh is based on extensive research from newspaper archives to portray the man in middle-age. The pose was dictated by Napier's set model and blueprint. Because of its height and on-stage movement, this immense statue requires a heavily reinforced steel armature. Ho Chi Mlnh was constructed in two pieces to facilitate trucking and loading into the theatre.

10. )liver
For more information on Sean Kenny, please follow this LINK.



13. Cays

Top For more information on Philip Prowse , please follow this LINK.

15. Fnch\nted Island

1.    Ralph Koltai CBE RDI

Date: ca. 2000
Photographer: Unknown ©Koltai

Koltai was the designer for many of the early Scottish Opera productions. Eventually, some of his scottish sets found a home with Intimate Opera and the Compass Club in Ayr.

2.    Back to Methuselah.  Ralph Koltai's design for the National Theatre production of George Bernard Shaw's play at the Old Vic, London. (Lighting by Robert Ornbo)

Date: 1969
Photographer: Unknown ©Ralph Koltai and The National Theatre, London.

For further information and images, please follow this LINK

3.    Peter Goffin (1906 - 74).  Design for Act II of the D'Oyly Carte production of Gilbert and Sullivan's Yeomen of the Guard at Sadler's Wells Theatre, London.

Date: 1948
Photographer: Unknown ©D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

For further information and images, please follow this LINK

4.    John Bury OBE (1925 - 2000), design for Peter Hall's Royal Shakespeare Company 1965 production of of Hamlet

Date: 1966
Photographer: ©Reg Wilson. ©John Bury and RSC

5.    John Napier's design (lighting by David Hersey) for Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, London.

Date: 1985
Photographer: Unknown ©John Napier and Cameron Mackintosh.

6.    Julian Crouch

Date: 2010.
Photographer: Unknown;

Julian Crouch's Projection designs for SATYAGRAHA at the Metropolitan Theatre, New York and English National Opera, London. (Lighting design by Paule Constable)

Date: 2010.
Photographer: Unknown; ©Julian Crouch. Metropolitan Opera and English National Opera

8.    Julian Crouch's design for Dr Atomic at the Metropolitan Theatre, New York 2010. (Lighting Designer: Brian McDevitt)

Date: 2010
Photographer: Unknown ©Juilian Crouch. Metropolitan Opera, New York.

9.    John Napier's design for the Ho Chi Min City in Miss Saigon at the Metropolitan Theatre, New York 1991.

Date: 1991
Photographer: Unknown. ©John Napier and Cameron Mackintosh

10.    Sean Kenny's design for Lionel Bart's Musical 'Oliver; adapted from Dickens' 'Oliver Twist' at the New Theatre, London.

Date: 1960
Photographer: Unknown.  ©Sean Kenny

11.    John Bury's design for the Peter Hall's production of Henry VI Part 1 for the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford

Date: 1963
Photographer: Unknown. ©John Bury and Royal Shakespeare Company.

12.    John Napier's design (lighting by David Hersey) for Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre, London.

Date: 1985
Photographer: Unknown. ©John Napier and Cameron Mackintosh.

13.    John Napier's design for the Elgin Theatre Toronto production of 'Cats'.

Date: 1985
Photographer: Unknown. ©John Napier and Cameron Mackintosh.

14.    Phillip Prowse's design for Three Dances to Japanese Music performed by Scottish Ballet at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow.

Date: 1976
Photographer: Unknown.  ©Scottish Ballet

15. Set designs by Julian Crouch for The Enchanted Island at the Metropolitan Opera New York

Date: 2012
Photographer: Unknown ©Julian Crouch

Ralph Koltai and John Bury

Both designers have had a close association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Koltai is a significant international figure but some of his earliest work was with English National Opera and Scottish Opera.

Ralph Koltai CBE RDI is Britain’s senior and most celebrated Theatre Designer. Apart from his freelance work, he was closely associated with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. As one of the many London-based designers working with Saddlers Wells, he contributed work to early productions by Scottish Opera, notably their Don Giovanni, Boris Goudonov and Otello. Material from each of these projects came to Ayr and was reused in a variety of setting devised, for the most part, by Bill Grierson.

Koltai was the subject of the first touring exhibition originated by the Maclaurin Trust. A close collaboration with the designer, this exhibition concentrated on Koltai's work with the RSC and National Theatre in the late 1970s and highlighted work submitted to the 1975 Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition of Scenography where he, and a group of fellow designers gained the premier award.

Hungarian by descent, Ralph Koltai served with British Intelligence on War Crimes Interrogation. He studied at the Central School of Art and Design in London and subsequently became Head of the Theatre Design Department (1965-72). He has designed some two hundred productions of opera, drama, dance and musicals in the United Kingdom, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United States.

As a director, work includes: "The Flying Dutchman" and "La Traviata" (Hong Kong Arts Festival 1987).

Work in the theatre includes: Thirty productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company where he is Associate Designer including: Cyrano De Bergerac, Troilus and Cressida and Othello; an all-male production of As You Like It (National Theatre, 1967 and San Francisco/New York 1975); Back To Methuselah, State of Revolution, The Guardsman, Brand, Richard III, The Wild Duck, Man And Superman (National Theatre); and musicals: Billy, Bugsy Malone, Dear Anyone, Metropolis, Hair (London's West End); Carrie, My Fair Lady (New York Broadway).

Work in opera and dance includes: Tanhäuser, Taverner, The Icebreak (Royal Opera, Covent Garden); The Planets (Royal Ballet); Mahagonny, Bluebeard's Castle, Carmen, Wagner's Complete Ring Cycle 1970-1981, The Seven Deadly Sins, Anna Karenina, Pacific Overtures (English National Opera).

Recent work includes: Genoveva (Opera North); Don Giovanni (Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg); Simon Boccanegra (Welsh National Opera); Nabucco (Roman Amphitheatre, Orange); Dalibor (Scottish Opera); A Midsummer Night's Dream (Gladsaxe Teater, Copenhagen); Suddenly Last Summer as director and designer (Nottingham Playhouse). Future plans include: Katya Kabanova (La Fenice, Venice).

Ralph Koltai was awarded the CBE in 1983; was elected to The Royal Society of Arts (RDI) in 1984 and received a special Award for Distinguished Service to the Theatre by the USITT. He has received numerous other national and international awards including: London Drama Critics award 1967 and 1981; Society of West End Theatre: Designer of the Year 1978 and 1984; he was part of the Gold Medal winning team at the Prague Quadrennial in 1975, Silver Medal at the Prague Quadrennial in 1987, and 'Golden Troika' National Award at Prague Quadrennials in 1979 and 1991. Ralph is also a Fellow of The Academy of Performing Arts, Hong Kong, Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design, London.

The Ralph Koltai Retrospective Exhibition by the London Institute opened in 1997 with the publication "Ralph Koltai - Designer For the Stage" by Lund Humphries.

John Bury

John Bury was born in 1925 at Aberystwyth, Wales. He was a production designer and costume designer, closely associated with Peter Hall at Stratford, Glyndebourne and the national Theatre. He died in November, 2000.

In 1981, won two Tony Awards out of three record-breaking nominations for the same production, Amadeus; winning as Best Scenic Designer and Best Lighting Designer, while losing as Best Costume Designer. This coup followed five previous nominations: in 1967, as Best Scenic Designer for The Homecoming; in 1971, as Best Scenic Designer for The Rothschilds; in 1972, as both Best Scenic Designer and Best Lighting Designer for Old Times; and in 1977 as Best Lighting Designer for No Man's Land.

In 1960 he designed a composite set for Lionel Bart's Oliver. Notable opera productions include Salome (1992), Orfeo ed Euridice (1982) and Carmen(1987).

[Text based on a biography at INDB and other published sources]

The Prague Quadrennial 1967.

The Golden Trigra, premiere award at the The Prague Quadrennial was won by a team of British Designers.  A note regarding their success will be found at the following location: Cue No.1 page 6

Peter Goffin FRSA (1906 - 74)

Born in Plymouth, the son of William Earl Goffin and Elizabeth Goffin, nee Underwood, Peter Goffin was an English set and costume designer and stage manager, known for his work with the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company.

Goffin was introduced to Rupert D'Oyly Carte, who commissioned him to redesign the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company's production of The Yeomen of the Guard in 1938. Goffin's new set, which provided a basic format for future touring designs, caused dissent among traditionalists because it did not depict the familiar backdrop of the White Tower.

Having previously regarded the unique world of Gilbert and Sullivan opera as a fixed star in a changing theatrical firmament, the possibility of altering any of its familiar features had hardly occurred to me. In common with many others, I had supposed that its continuing life depended on the perfect preservation of the physical form in which it had been realised three-quarters of a century ago. Here was something already shaped and determined, always on view, to be revered, ridiculed or merely ignored; but surely immutable. With this conception of the subject, I felt as if I had been asked to redesign the Albert Memorial.

Goffin created a unit set – a framework on which the sets for each opera could easily be interchanged, which, according to Frederic Lloyd, the General Manager of the D'Oyly Carte Company, "saved the management an enormous amount of expense and facilitated taking more operas to more theatres."  In addition, Goffin designed a number of posters and other graphic art for the D'Oyly Carte organisation.

John Napier

Born in London in 1944, John Napier studied fine art at Hornsey College of Art in the early 1960s and theatre design at the Central School of Arts and Crafts under Ralph Koltai. He is an associate designer of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Notable productions for the RSC include: Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Once in a Lifetime, The Greeks, Nicholas Nickleby, Hedda Gabler, Peter Pan and Mother Courage.

His work for the National Theatre include: The Party (Olivier’s last performance at the Old Vic), Equus, later seen worldwide, Trelawny of the ‘Wells’, An Enemy of the People, Peter Pan, Candide and South Pacific.

Opera includes Lohengrin and Macbeth (Royal Opera, Covent Garden), Idomeneo (Glyndebourne), The Devils (ENO) and Nabucco (Metropolitan Opera).

He is increasingly associated with Cameron Mackintosh and Trevor Nunn, designing their musical theatre productions including: Cats, Starlight Express, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard. These productions have been presented on Broadway and around the world.

Other West End designs include: Time, Children of Eden and Jesus Christ Superstar. Napier designed the Captain EO video starring Michael Jackson for Disney. He created and co-directed the spectacular Siegfried & Roy Show at the Mirage in Las Vegas, followed by Steven Spielberg’s film Hook. Other designs include: Burning Blue (Haymarket, 1996 Olivier Award for Best Set Design), The Tower and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (both Almeida), Martin Guerre (West Yorkshire Playhouse and tour) and the musical version of Jane Eyre (Broadway).

He recently designed Skellig (Young Vic), Aladdin (Old Vic) and Gone with the Wind (New London).

Julian Crouch - Designer & Director

Julian Crouch is a Brooklyn-based independent director, designer, writer, maker, teacher, illustrator, and musician, whose career has spanned theatre, opera, ballet, film, and television.

Initially a mask and puppet maker, with much of his life based in London, in the mid-1990's he co-founded London's Improbable Theatre Company. Improbable's productions, which included Animo, 70 Hill Lane, Lifegame, Spirit Sticky, The Hanging Man, The Wolves in the Walls, and Panic, have gained far-reaching national and international recognition. His final production for Improbable which he conceived, directed, and designed was The Devil and Mr Punch. Julian co-created, co-directed, and designed the multi-award winning Shockheaded Peter.

His opera work has included set design and associate direction for Satygraha for the English Nation Opera and The Metropolitan Opera, creating The Enchanted Island, Doctor Atomic, and staging the 125th Gala for the Metropolitan Opera. Other major projects include Jerry Springer: The Opera and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum for the National Theatre, The Magic Flute for the Welsh National Opera, and Cinderella the Dutch National and San Francisco Ballets.

On Broadway, Julian has designed Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Big Fish the Musical and the Addams Family. Most recently Julian designed Le Petit Prince for Lausanne Opera and co-directed and designed Jedermann for the Salzburg Festival. Currently he is designing Dreigroschenoper for the Salzburg Festival. Julian was recently Artist in Residence at New York's Park Avenue Armoury and is the first commissioned artist for the BRIC House Fireworks Residency Program in Brooklyn, NY.

Julian has received a Tony Award Nomination for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Son of David Crouch, senior lecturer in Drama at Craggier College of Education, Julian lived in Allow ay for many years. He was a pupil at Ayer Academy and a winner of the Observer Art Competition. During his time in Ayer, Julian worked with Craggier College Theatre Group, providing masks for the college production of Romeo and Juliet, and Ayer Intimate Opera.

Julian has also worked closely with the Scottish National Theatre Company.

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