The prestigious V&A museum in London has been chosen to host the launch of the first edition of the International Festival of Scenic Arts, an international event celebrating contemporary stage, set and costume design, organised by The Scenographer magazine in collaboration with a number of leading European universities and their respective faculties of architecture and design.
The world's largest museum of design and decorative arts plays host to a series of talks and presentations by world-class design practitioners the calibre of William Dudley, British stage designer, costume designer, video designer and 3D animator, who has most recently designed the sets and costumes for the Broadway musical The Woman in White, produced by Andrew Lloyd Webber. He is joined by lighting designer Rick Fisher, Tony Award winner for Billy Elliot: The Musical. From Italy, the event welcomes the multi award winning scenographer Ezio Frigerio and the Academy Award winning costume designer, Franca Squarciapino.
The theme of the event will be "Designing for opera and musical performance" drawing together creative and technical realities and examining the fusion of traditional methods with those orientated towards experimentation, that make broad use of multimedia and computerised technologies. Award-winning professionals of international acclaim from the world of scenography, costume design and lighting design will present alongside the market leaders in the associated product fields. An event at the forefront of the developing dialogue between conventional and modern approaches to design, addressed by highly experienced designers and technicians who will present audio-visual examples of recent projects.
Part of the day will be devoted to Maria Bjornson, stage and costume designer for theatre and opera. Her career will be discussed by her friend and authority on her work, the impresario and designer Adam Pollock. Widely considered by critics to be one of the most important contemporary stage and costume designers at an international level before her untimely demise in December 2002, at the age of 53. She is best known for her iconic sets and costumes for Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Phantom of the Opera. The production has been running for over 20 years and has been seen by over 100 million people in 21 countries worldwide.