Stage Presence: Design from the Australian Performing Arts Collection

ACM Stage Presence Set model designed by Tony Tripp for Misalliance, Melbourne Theatre Company, 1998The exquisite costume and set designs of some of Australia’s most esteemed designers will be celebrated in the free Arts Centre Melbourne exhibition, Stage Presence: Design from the Australian Performing Arts Collection in Gallery 1 from 30 April 2016.

Stage Presence includes more than 150 items drawn from Arts Centre Melbourne’s Australian Performing Arts Collection, and features the work of renowned costume and set designers including John Truscott, Roger Kirk, Brian Thomson, Hugh Colman, Judith Cobb and Jennie Tate, as well as contributions from Jennifer Irwin, Richard Jeziorny, Nigel Triffitt, Akira Isogawa, Alicia Clements, Tony Tripp and Gabriela Tylesova.

Original designs, costumes, set models and scenic paintings from across opera, theatre, music and dance will be exhibited highlighting important recent acquisitions to the Collection. Some of the highlights include Hugh Colman’s ethereal White Witch robe and headdress from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2002), Akira Isogawa’s costumes from Sydney Dance Company’s Grand (2005) and Brian Thomson’s set models for the London production of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (2006).

The exhibition is the third in a series of design exhibitions presented by Arts Centre Melbourne to showcase Australia’s most extensive collection of stage and costume design from the late 19th century to the present. The previous exhibitions were Creating a Scene (2004) and Drawn to the Stage (2007).

Senior curator Tim Fisher said Stage Presence will explore the ever-changing role of stage designers, their sources of inspiration and influence of different performance genres. It will illustrate the technical approaches employed by different designers and the direction stage and costume design is heading in the 21st century.

“This exhibition is a great way for our audience to see a vital aspect of performance; how to design for the stage,” said Mr Fisher. “From inspiration to concept drawings, finished designs to set models and scenic painting, all are displayed within a beautiful and stylised setting created by exhibition designer Anna Cordingley.”

Arts Centre Melbourne’s Australian Performing Arts Collection is the national leader among specialist performing arts collections in Australia. It is Australia’s largest and most important collection of performing arts history and traditions.

Established in 1975, it is formally recognised as a State Collection and encompasses the history of circus, dance, music, opera and theatre. The Collection features more than 600,000 items including costumes, designs, photographs, set models, puppets, props, posters and programs.

Stage Presence: Design from the Australian Performing Arts Collection
Gallery 1 – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Exhibition: 30 April – 4 September 2016
Free admission

For more information, visit: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au for details.

Image: Set model designed by Tony Tripp for Misalliance, Melbourne Theatre Company, 1998. Gift of Melbourne Theatre Company, 2007. Performing Arts Collection, Arts Centre Melbourne.

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