Hudson, Richard (2 of 7)  An Oral History of Theatre Design

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  • Recording date

    2006-12-15, 2007-07-25, 2008-04-04

  • Recording locations

    Interviewee's studio, London

  • Interviewees

    Hudson, Richard 1954- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Wright, Elizabeth (speaker, female)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: Projects in art lessons in school; batik and tie dye; influence of African textiles; carpentry. Mention of JoH sending RH books from London on Andy Warhol and Aubrey Beardsley. Designing posters for school events. Working alone in the art school; being allowed to use good quality paint brushes; receiving a box of Derwent Cumberland colour pencils for a birthday; using early felt tip pens; using clay. Being part of the play reading society; other societies; not belonging to the snake club; debating club; time spent outside of lessons. [0:07:44] Sleeping in dormitories at senior school; private space in the toyes room. Collecting images; being mad about pop music; Dusty Springfield. [0:10:15] Decision to come to England to study Art; not knowing that you could train to be a stage designer; trip to Reps Theatre in Harare and to see a ballet company from Cape Town; laughing at the noise of the point shoes on the stage at the ballet, which was danced to recorded music; plays at Reps; hearing about plays that teachers had seen in Britain. Holiday in Cape Town; subsequent holidays in Beira, Mozambique; sea food; journey to Mozambique; activities on holiday; brother’s journey from Beira to England on a cruise ship through the Suez Canal. [0:16:37] Parents’ feelings about RH’s decision to study in England; RH’s own feelings about this; nervous rash; travelling by air for the first time; packing. Plan for RH to live with Aunt and Uncle in Harrogate and attend an art foundation at the Jacob Kramer College in Leeds; application process; mention of paying foreign student fees; travelling to England with a family friend. First impressions of England; clothes required for living in England; interest in clothes; shopping at Bugatti in Church Street, Kensington. First impressions of Leeds; contrast with Zimbabwe; moving in with Uncle and Aunt. Lack of awareness of class; not making friends at art school; spending weekends with brother in London. Aunt and Uncle’s house in Harrogate; their children; living with cousins. [0:26:19] First day at art foundation; exciting projects; feelings about some of the projects at the time; contrast with art lessons at school; attitude of teachers towards RH wanting to be a theatre designer. Travelling to Leeds with Uncle each day; doing short projects; applying to Wimbledon School of Art [WSA] and Central St Martins; accepting the place at WSA; losing interest in the foundation course after this. Drawing projects on art foundation; not learning much that was useful to theatre design on the course; life drawing. Decision to study theatre design; argument with tutor, Patrick. Brother’s house by the river in Hammersmith that had belonged to Sophie Devine, wife of George Devine; others living in the house; David Lan [DL] who now runs the Young Vic; Nicky Wright [Nicholas Wright] who is on the board of the National theatre; Noel Greig who founded Gay Sweatshop; Peter Gill [PG], the playwright and director. PG’s comment that RH would never have any money if he became a theatre designer; story of how RH’s brother came to live at the house; mention that brother still lives there. [0:34:32] Visiting brother at weekends; visits to restaurants, clubs and Gay Liberation meetings at Fulham Town Hall; mention that most of brother’s friends were gay; gay friends at college. First becoming conscious of being gay. Pastimes in Leeds including walks in the country, cooking and going to the theatre in Leeds and Harrogate; ballet and concerts; mention that Aunt was the Secretary of the Harrogate Choral Society; Leeds Piano Competition. Interview for WSA course with David Burrows, Malcolm Pride and Michael Pope; feelings about the interview; portfolio at this time; reasons for choosing WSA; journey from Leeds to London; leaving Aunt and Uncle’s family; gifts of bedding and a Roberts radio. [0:40:11] Living with brother when first in London; cycling to Wimbledon everyday. First day at college; meeting friend, Lucy; others on the course; mix of people; other students’ backgrounds; finding out about different places in England. Course accommodation during the first year; tutor, Mathilde Sandberg [MS]. First project on Holst’s ‘The Planets’; working in a model for the first time. Other first year projects including ‘Dido and Aeneas’ by Purcell; starting to understand what theatre design was going to be about; other students’ responses to the piece. [0:49:06] Second year projects including ‘The Turn of the Screw’ [TOS]; meeting YS for the first time during this project; sharing a similar background with her; assisting her after leaving college; her support for RH; feeling inspired by YS, who had designed the opera with Britten at Aldeburgh. Project on ‘Celestina’; costume drawings for this; comments about how RH’s costume drawings have become smaller over the years; the practicalities of costume drawings; working in Spanish inks for costume drawings at college; using Dr Martins inks and concentrated watercolours today; using charcoal and wax crayons at college. Role of YS on TOS project; learning about finding inspiration from YS; her studio. [0:55:29] Exhibition and show at the end of WSA course; designing ‘Saved’ by Edward Bond; creating a convincing argument to have a neon sign; costumes; response to this design. Mention of being given a 2:2; writing a thesis on French haute couture; working with the director Helena Kaut-Howson [HK] on ‘Saved’. Exhibiting models for ‘Camino Real’ and ‘Happy Days’ in the graduate exhibition as well as drawings.

  • Description

    Life story interview with Richard Hudson (1954-), theatre designer.

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