Prowse, Philip (7 of 27)  An Oral History of Theatre Design

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  • Recording date

    2005-11-01, 2005-11-09, 2005-11-16, 2005-11-23, 2005-12-07, 2005-12-14, 2005-12-21

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's home, Chelsea

  • Interviewees

    Prowse, Philip 1937- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    O'Ryan, Lydia (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 7: PP's time at Malvern College, studying Theatre Design; praise for teacher William Foulkes. Comments on problems of teaching theatre design and role of drawing in design process; importance of notion of designing in space; relationship between designer and director. PP's work with Jonathan Miller [JM]; his contextual understanding of works, mentions Mozart's ' The Magic Flute' for Scottish Opera and in Zurich and ' Don Giovanni for English National Opera [ENO]. PP's working relationship with Peter Wright on productions of 'Sleeping Beauty' and 'Swan Lake'. Refers to first design for Kenneth Macmillan [KM] revived in Stuttgart. Background to PP's production of 'Sleeping Beauty' for Dutch National Ballet, performed in Amsterdam, Vienna, Birmingham and Stockholm. PP talks about first job at Covent Garden, London 1959 on leaving the Slade School of Fine Art [Slade] ; works for Franco Zeffirelli [FZ] , Lesley Hurry, Michael Bentall, Osbert Lancaster, Filipo St. Juste. Refers to friendship with KM through Nicholas Georgiadis [NG] and work on one act ballet 'Diversions' to music by Arthur Bliss. PP's part time teaching at Birmingham Art School. Refers to Beriosova, Donald McCleary, Marion Lane, Graham Usher, Monica Mason (now runs Royal Ballet). Describes design for 'Diversions'. Comments on Bertolt Brecht, Caspar Neher and productions of ' Coriolanus' and ' City of Mahagonny', Kurt Weill at the Old Vic. Remarks on influence of Brecht on designers like Jocelyn Herbert. Description of working practice at Covent Garden in model room; mentions ' Der Rosenkavalier ' with Elizabeth Swarzkopf. Influence on PP of FZ as person and designer. PP's domestic arrangements during time at Slade, mentions Finchley, and Chelsea, comments on student grants. PP's contemporaries at Slade including Yolanda Sonnabend, Anne Gainsford.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Philip Prowse (1937-), theatre designer.

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