The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: We Are The Storytellers Now - open until March 13, 2020 at V&A London

Michael Pavelka

Gallery Images

  • Off the Wall


Michael trained at Wimbledon School of Art. His theatre work among over a hundred and sixty productions includes: two plays for the Lindsey Anderson: The Fishing Trip and Holiday (Old Vic). At the Library Theatre Manchester his many designs include: The Life of Galileo (Best Design Manchester Evening News Theatre Awards), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Best Production MEN Awards) and The Good Soul of Szechuan. He designed Roger Haines’ productions of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations at the Library.

He is a founder member of the Propeller Theatre company and has designed all of their world-touring ensemble Shakespeare productions directed by Edward Hall. These include Rose Rage at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater that transferred to New York (nominated Best Costume Design at Chicago’s Jeff Awards), their Taming of the Shrew (RSC) and Twelfth Night (Old Vic). Michael won the Theatre UK’s Best Set Design for Propeller’s The Merchant of Venice.

Michael designed the first African language Mother Courage and Her Children in Kampala, also at the Kennedy Center, Washington DC and Grahamstown Festival, RSA. He designed Revelations at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Off the Wall with director/choreographer Liam Steel, opening the refurbished Royal Festival Hall on London’s South Bank. His work represented the UK at the Prague Quadrennial 2011 and World Stage Design 2013.

Michael’s many West End productions include; Twelve Angry Men (Garrick) Funny Girl (Savoy) starring Sheridan Smith and more recently The Go-Between (Apollo) starring Michael Crawford. Other productions include Absurd Person Singular (Garrick), The Constant Wife (Lyric), How the Other Half Loves (Duke of Yorks), Other People’s Money (Lyric), Leonardo, Blues in the Night (Strand also Dublin, New York and Tokyo) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Comedy), Macbeth (Albery) starring Sean Bean, and A Few Good Men (Theatre Royal Haymarket) starring Rob Lowe and directed by David Esbjornson. His other productions with David include Twelfth Night (Seattle Repertory Theatre) and Death of a Salesman (Gate Theatre, Dublin). Other shows in Dublin include Hay Fever (Gate Theatre) and most recently the world premiere of Frank McGuinness’ The Hanging Gardens (Abbey Theatre), both directed by Patrick Mason.

His most recent designs have been at Hampstead Theatre, including I and You, Cell Mates, The Strange Death of John Doe and Cost of Living.

His designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and at the Barbican include: The Odyssey, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry V and Julius Caesar, and for the National Theatre in the Olivier, Edmond starring Kenneth Branagh.

He is an educator and author, having run the theatre design BA and MA courses for many years at Wimbledon and published So You Want to be a Theatre Designer (Nick Hern Books) in 2015.