Playing with Scale – now online

An online version of the National Theatre exhibition ‘Playing with Scale’ is now available on Google Arts and Culture. It includes an animation of the internal workings of the Olivier’s drum revolve, a film of Bunny Christie working with the set model for The Comedy of Errors and a film specially made for the exhibition showing designers Geoffrey Scott and Bob Crowley unpacking the model from the 1977 production of The Plough and the Stars directed by Bill Bryden. Bob Crowley claims to have been ‘a terrible assistant’ who did however know ‘how to make good tea and where to buy good cakes’.

This exhibit explores how theatre designers use scale models, through seven productions that appeared on the Olivier stage of the National Theatre between 1977 and 2018. The designers are: Hildegard Bechtler, Bunny Christie, Soutra Gilmour, Jocelyn Herbert, Geoffrey Scott and Anthony Ward.

Other National Theatre exhibitions on Google Arts and Culture include:

  • Sophie Jump’s exhibit ‘The Role of the Theatre Designer‘ features three productions: The Oresteia (1981) designed by Jocelyn Herbert, The Mysteries (1977–1999) designed by William Dudley and War Horse (2007–present) designed by Rae Smith. The exhibition includes storyboards and sketches, and new interviews with Willian Dudley and Rae Smith.
  • The online exhibition on Costume is a companion to the 2019 physical exhibition curated by Aoife Monks. It explores changing ideas about period costume, including Coram Boy and Mother Clap’s Molly House, military uniforms, mud, blood and nudity.
  • A two-part history of the architecture of the National Theatre, curated by Daniel Rosenthal. The first part tells the story of the history of the theatre before architect Denys Lasdun was appointed, while the second part includes drawings and photos of the theatre in construction, as well as a discussion between Patrick Dillon, Catherine Croft and Barnabas Calder.

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