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National Theatre announces new exhibition PLAYING WITH SCALE

Antigone 2012, designer Soutra Gilmour (c) James Bellorini Photography.
Antigone 2012, designer Soutra Gilmour (c) James Bellorini Photography.

This new free exhibition at the National Theatre explores how designers use set models for theatre-making. Playing with Scale unfolds the idea of a scale model and explains the importance of models as a design tool. The exhibition features model boxes from productions at the NT, archive materials, films, audio and photography.

The exhibition is curated by Eleanor Margolies (Jocelyn Herbert Fellow, Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School, UAL) and is presented in collaboration with the Jocelyn Herbert Archive.

Curator Eleanor Margolies said: “I have been looking at the models created by designer Jocelyn Herbert for the last two years and became fascinated by all the different ways that set models are used in the designer’s process. So many conversations happen around and through the model – with directors and actors, set-builders and prop-makers. The exquisite miniature world of the ‘final model’ is only one part of the story. I feel really lucky to have had a glimpse into the usually hidden world of the studio, taking in early sketch models and digital 3D visualisations, and look forward to sharing this with visitors to the exhibition.

The exhibition focuses on five productions designed for the Olivier stage: The Plough and the Stars (1977, designer Geoffrey Scott), Antigone (2012, designer Soutra Gilmour), The Comedy of Errors (2011, designer Bunny Christie), Exit the King (2018, designer Anthony Ward) and Antony & Cleopatra (2018, designer Hildegard Bechtler).

The exhibition shows how important models were for architect Denys Lasdun, who designed the Olivier auditorium, and how these five designers have responded in very different ways to this unique space.

Jocelyn Herbert was both a member of the Building Committee working with Lasdun and also designed productions for the Olivier Theatre. Scale models of the props and furniture Herbert designed for Galileo have been preserved within her archive at the National Theatre, and have recently been restored by Tabitha Austin, a student on the MA Conservation at Camberwell.

The exhibition explores why designers make scale models and brings attention to their collaborative work with directors, scenic artists, actors and designers of lighting and projection.

View images on: https://www.facebook.com/pg/londontheatre1

Related Talks and Events:
Exhibition Insight with Curator Eleanor Margolies Sat 1 December, 11.30am
How Designers use Model Boxes Mon 10 December, 6pm
Out of the Model Box: stories inspired by set models Sat 2 March, 12pm
Model Box Making Workshop Sat 2 March, 2pm
Drawing Set Designs with the NT Drawing Office Thu 21 March, 6pm


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