A couple of weeks ago, I spotted this programme on a shelf in the Research Room of the National Theatre Archive. Jennie, the Archive Assistant, explained that a former Trustee of the Theatre Royal, Norwich had donated her personal collection of theatre programmes from the 1980s - relating to shows at the National and at… Continue reading Travels in the archive: how a mermaid led to Poland, Italy and Berlin… (Part 1)
In Nick Moran's new book The Right Light: Interviews with Contemporary Lighting Designers he talks to lighting designers who work in very different contexts, from West End shows to site-specific performance. The chapters draw out different aspects of the process, and Moran provides a helpful commentary to illuminate the context for readers unfamiliar with the structures or technology of lighting. Most… Continue reading The Right Light
Jocelyn Herbert (1917-2003) was one of Britain’s leading theatre designers. She transformed earlier assumptions about the relationships between designers, directors and writers, and had a huge influence on younger designers. Her career began with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court, where she designed the first British production of Ionesco's The Chairs (1958). She collaborated closely over… Continue reading The Jocelyn Herbert Archive
Les peintres, ces grands bavards, s'en vont, leur journée terminée, au café ou ils recontrent d'autres peintres. Et ce sont les interminables et charmante discussions que l'on sait, et que personne, hélas! ne pense à dérober au vent. [At the end of the working day, painters, those great talkers, go to cafes where they… Continue reading André Lhote
On 22 November 2016, Rae Smith gave the annual Jocelyn Herbert Lecture at the National Theatre. She projected images of her theatre drawings, discussing the different purposes they have. Some drawings record visual research; some are made in the studio and brought in to discuss with the rest of the creative team; others are made in… Continue reading Rae Smith on drawing
As part of the 'Crossing Borders' season of talks at Siobhan Davies Studios, Independent Dance invited Abbie Garrington to talk about her work, in particular her exploration of the importance of touch in modernism (Haptic Modernism, 2013). She suggested that touch was particularly emphasised in the early 20th century, citing James Joyce, Virginia Woolf and… Continue reading Why does the tactile matter?
On Sunday 30 October, the Association of British Theatre Technicians held a symposium to mark the 40th anniversary of the opening of the National Theatre. There were dozens of short presentations, moving from fascinating details of the design process for the National's building and technical set up 40 years ago, to ideas about future and ideal spaces and new… Continue reading A Place for Plays
A celebration of the life and work of Arnold Wesker (1932-2016) at the Royal Court Theatre on Sunday 9 October 2016 opened with a filmed extract from the 1961 production of The Kitchen. The play had first been produced in 1959 as a 'Sunday Night without décor’ production, designed by Jocelyn Herbert. The great thing… Continue reading Wesker’s kitchens