skip to main content

Taking centre stage in Beijing

Published date
23 Sep 2015
Anna Castleton

7734 by ABIGAIL HAMMOND photography Tristam Kenton
The largest ever exhibition of European theatre design opens in China this week, curated by Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL. Hosted by the National Centre for Performing Arts, highlights of the exhibition include the designs for the Lion King stage play and Cheek By Jowl productions.

Coinciding with Beijing Design Week and the China-UK Year of Cultural Exchange, the exhibition will put a spotlight on the design process from initial idea to final production and will cover the full range of design for theatre and performance. The curators have described the exhibition as a “garden of ideas” that also illuminates for a Chinese audience the differences and nuances of design approaches across Europe, with drawings, process work, scale models and costumes, as well as moving image on display.

Curated by Wimbledon’s MA Theatre Design course director Michael Pavelka and Theatre Design Senior Lecturer Peter Farley, the exhibition features work from the Lion King by Wimbledon alumnus Richard Hudson, Cheek By Jowl by Nick Ormerod and Declan Donnelan, Ping by LCF alumna Daphne Karstens, alongside designs by Thomas Rupert and Dimitry Krymov.

Ping by DAPHNE KARSTENS photo Alex Traylen

Dean of Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL Simon Betts said: “Wimbledon has a long and distinguished history as one of the UK’s leading specialist theatre institution and is internationally recognised for preparing students for the professional world. Our graduates have been pushing the boundaries of performance design for many years, so it’s extremely exciting for the College to be invited to put together such an important showcase of best practice in this area.”

Curator Peter Farley said: “It is exciting to take an exposition of European performance design to China and that the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing recognizes the importance of this largely undocumented subject as an essential and vital component of performance-making.”

Recognized for its preeminence in both design for theatre and film, Wimbledon’s roster of star alumni includes Oscar, BAFTA and Emmy award winners such as Sarah Greenwood, Anthony Ward, James Acheson, Charles Knode, Christopher Oram and Mark Tildesley.

Richard Hudson Contes de Hoffmann Spalanzani

This month UAL will launch a new alumni network in Beijing, high profile graduates include fashion designers Min Wu, Huishan Zhang, and Johanna Ho, Vogue China fashion editor Grace Lam, and designer Tom Shi.

UAL has just signed an MOU with Beijing Municipal Commission for Education which will represent the first stage in a collaboration that will involve UAL working closely with selected key Beijing institutions. UAL is the only UK arts and design institution with which the Education Commission is working. The collaboration will involve the provision, by Beijing, of a number of two year scholarships to fund the best Beijing students to study at UAL colleges for our first and second year. UAL and the Commission also hope to collaborate on allied activities, including the development and provision of summer schools for Beijing students.

Search theatre and design courses at UAL

Read more about the Evolving Design For Performance exhibition in Beijing