The Society of British Theatre Designers

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

The Merry Owls

The Merry Owls
  • Production: The Merry Owls
  • Company: PQ 2015 / V&A
  • Venue: V&A Museum, Wilderness Festival
  • Year: 2014
  • Directed by: Elly Hopkins and Max Johns
  • Costume Design by: Max Johns
  • Photography by: Erin Hopkins
  • Design © Max Johns
  • Image © Erin Hopkins
An interactive costume led performance for the John Madejski garden in the V&A museum, with the brief ‘Shakespeare Tribes’, as part of the V&A’s Shakespeare Festival and PQ 2015. Expanding upon my designs for The Merry Wives of Windsor, and in response to the courtyard garden space, the costumes were worn by members of Owl Parliament Choir who used them to make mischief and generate festive revelry among museum visitors. The concept drew on traditional English rituals – maypoles, mummers and green men – to explore the aesthetics of tribal behaviour and retrace our lineage to a ‘merrie England’ of the distant past. Following the performance costumes were displayed in the Theatre and Performance Gallery at the V&A. The performance has since been taken to Wilderness Festival as part of their roaming theatre programme and the Yard Theatre in Hackney.