Professionalising the Theatre Designer: Reconstructing Theatre Design Pedagogy Through Object-Elicitation

  • Harriet Richmond (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


This seminar presentation examines the emergence of theatre design education in the UK in the period between the wars. The model of theatre design education that emerged from the London Theatre Studio (1936-1939), led by Michel Saint-Denis and George Devine, provided the basis for the theatre design course at the Old Vic Theatre School and the Motley Theatre Design Course (1966-2010). The design course at the London Theatre Studio was not the first of its kind in the UK, but it was one of the first that integrated the theatre designer in the ensemble. Although the Motley design archive has been preserved, very little remains of either the original London Theatre Studio design course or the Motley course except for a collection of course exhibition fliers, and personal letters from graduates of the course. The presentation documents a novel approach to object elicitation in a focus group setting as a tactic for reconstructing the curriculum and pedagogy of the course. It will show how objects chosen by Motley alumni, prompted memory through the temporal and expansive effects of Barthes’ notion of punctum. In the context of narrative inquiry, the intersection of object and self is important because, as Bell suggests:

[Objects] become vehicles for us to know ourselves and […] our place in the larger world. Objects can be sensed. They can be touched and smelled, picked up and put down, over and over again. These objects have been the vehicles to our memories.
Period23 May 2019
Held atNewman University, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionRegional