Designer Stephen Curtis launches his new book THE DESIGNER: DECORATOR OR DRAMATURG tonight at Eternity Playhouse in Darlinghurst. Neil Armfield will launch the book followed by Stephen Curtis in conversation with Martin Portus.
The towering bush setting designed for the Sydney Theatre Company’s masterly adaptation of The Secret River, now touring Australia, is just one of the memorable works in the career of Stephen Curtis. In this paper he draws on his thirty years’ experience of stage and screen design to argue for a deeper understanding of the designer’s role as central to the development of any theatre performance. The task of giving concrete form to a play or dance work, he writes, is a team process in which the designer is a uniquely agile contributor to the dramaturgy—making meaning visually, for the participants and the audience, and offering an encompassing, fluid perspective. Curtis uses an historical overview of performance design to illustrate how the designer’s role has evolved from scene painting to the complex discipline it is today; and, in a valuable insider’s account of the intense process that brought The Secret River to the stage, investigates the way collaboration really works.
Stephen Curtis is one of Australia’s most respected designers for theatre and for film. His extensive theatre career spans more than three decades and embraces set and costume design for dance, drama, opera, physical theatre and musicals, including major collaborations with Australia’s leading directors, choreographers, festivals and performance companies.