The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: UK Design for Performance 2015-2019 (Image: Performing Architects)

Arms and the Man

Arms and the Man
  • Production: Arms and the Man
  • Company: Wimbledon School of Art Diploma Show
  • Venue: Wimbledon School of Art Theatre
  • Year: 1966
  • Author: Bernard Shaw
  • Directed by: Peter Bucknell
  • Lighting Design by: Martin Morley
  • Costume Design by: Martin Morley
  • Set designed by: Martin Morley
This was my diploma show production 1966 was the first year of the DipAD qualification. Looking at these student efforts now I am amazed at how scruffy they are, and yet they have a freshness that I often find hard to replicate today. I know what I was trying to convey. When I was working on it Negri said ,’draw on what you know’. The design was based on a love of Alpine buildings and also I was very influenced by an exhibition I had recently seen at the Edinburgh Festival of Yugoslav Primitive art. I wanted to steer clear of elaborate ‘theatrical’ effects and give the production a homely but slightly caricatured feel. My interpretation looks timid to me now, un textured and under dressed, the painting round the door is very perfunctory, in reality it would have been much richer. The fault was in trying to follow the model slavishly rather than developing it in the execution. Comparing the two photos above it is obvious to me that I lost some of the incidental character in the model as I did not realise that the way it had warped had actually added to it. I consciously kept it very simple, relying on the silhouette to convey the character.