John Verryt

Set Designer

“The philosophy behind the design for this production of SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER is to have as much fun with it as possible!

The issues that Goldsmith explores are relevant to any time: the youth of the day having no sense of responsibility, or sense of any sort really; the pretentions of the new aristocracy obsessed with wealth; and a good old poke at the class system.

The 1950s is an era rich in material that relates to Goldsmith’s concerns. Young people were exploring new ideas in the arts, especially music with the birth of Rock and Roll. They were also exploring freedoms, and aspiring to lifestyles that contrasted enormously with those of their parents.

We chose to set the piece in the garden to give the players a huge number of pathways to travel, hide in and eavesdrop from, and to enable the
overlapping of scenes to keep the action rolling at the hectic pace required for comedy. The sense of the house interior is given through the furniture and the floor which becomes floorboards at its centre. I also like the abstraction and challenge of creating walls of foliage rather than building walls with doors and windows.”

Auckland-based, John trained at Theatre Corporate and Mercury Theatre in design for Live Performance.

John’s work for Auckland Theatre Company includes SHIP SONGS, THE PILLOWMAN, SOMEONE WHO’LL WATCH OVER ME, DEATH OF A SALESMAN, THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN, HARURU MAI, HAIR, THE SONGMAKER’S CHAIR and TWELFTH NIGHT.

Other theatre designs include MACBETH, HAMLET, JACK AND THE BEANSTALK and THE THREEPENNY OPERA (The Large Group), THE CANDLESTICK MAKER and THE PICKLE KING (Indian Ink Theatre Company), THE
GOAT OR WHO IS SYLVIA?, BADJELLY THE WITCH, TAKE ME OUT, PLENTY, BERLIN and ‘TIS PITY SHE’S A WHORE (Silo Theatre).

For opera, he has designed AIDA, FALSTAFF, CARMEN, DON PASQUALE and HANSEL ANd GRETEL (NBR NZO), GIANNI SCHICCHI, THE SPANISH HOUR and LA BOHEME (ONZ), and LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR (ONZ, LA Opera).

John’s favourite dance designs include FORBIDDEN MEMORIES and INLAND (Douglas Wright dance Company), FIA OLA, SURFACE, URBAN YOUTH MOVEMENT and AMATA (Black Grace Dance Company), TRISTAN AND ISOLDE and COMMOTION (Michael Parmenter Dance Company).

Other projects include THE MILLENNIUM SHOW at the Auckland domain and LOUIS VUITTON AMERICA’S CUP PARTY (Inside Out Productions).