V&A Dundee

Linbury prize exhibition travels to Dundee

Press release

11 February 2014

An exhibition of work by twelve finalists of the prestigious Linbury Prize for Stage Design 2013 is to travel to Dundee direct from its showing at the National Theatre, London. The four winners, who are emerging stage design graduates, have won a unique opportunity to design a professional production for the following major theatre, dance or opera companies: English Touring Opera, National Theatre of Scotland, Nottingham Playhouse and Scottish Dance Theatre.

Renowned designers Es Devlin, John Macfarlane and Christopher Oram selected a shortlist of twenty candidates, from which the four commissioning companies each chose three finalists to work on designs for a forthcoming production. The individual winners are Florence de Mare who trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art; Madeleine Girling a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama;Ana Ines Jabares Pita who graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama; and Alexander Rutha graduate of the London College of Fashion.

The free exhibition will be displayed in Dundee Rep’s Bonar Hall from Saturday 22 February for one week only. Dundee Rep Theatre, Scottish Dance Theatre, V&A at Dundee and the Linbury Trust have partnered to bring this project to Dundee and it is the only Scottish venue to have secured the exhibition.

Fleur Darkin, Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre said “It has been an honour for Scottish Dance Theatre to partner with V&A at Dundee to win one of the prestigious Linbury prizes for Stage Design. Through our presence in the exhibition we have been able to showcase the creativity that resides within our city to a national audience who have recognised the originality of our work. Having the exhibition travel to Dundee now allows us to share our artistic journey and ambitions with our city. As Scotland’s national contemporary dance company, the Linbury award shows that innovation is at the core of what we do. We won the Linbury award for Dundee and the commissioned project will be taking place in City Square on 6 July 2014. Everyone is invited.”

Sarah Saunders, Head of Learning and Engagement for V&A at Dundee said: “Collaborating with Scottish Dance Theatre and three talented international designers on this prestigious design prize has produced some really innovative results. V&A at Dundee is all about design and we are committed to supporting and showcasing new design talent across Scotland and beyond. Performance and costume are a vibrant part of the landscape of design in Scotland, today and for the future. The exhibition has been well-received in London and now we hope that the playful, participatory designs for Scottish Dance Theatre will inspire and delight visitors in Dundee.”

The Linbury Prize is sponsored by the Linbury Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.


Scottish Dance Theatre with V&A at Dundee – Alexander Ruth

Alexander Ruth will be designing Room Choreographed by Fleur Darkin

Room will be a design-led interrogation of the relationship between up to 10 dancers in the company and our audience members. Both audience and performers will share the same space and Room will approach, frame and emphasise the space between the performers’ and audience’s bodies. A strong theme of Room is the interdependence between performer and audience. The scale of Room is a critical design question – it may be a work of intimacy – the space shared between one dancer and one audience member – or of an epic proportion. We would encourage collaboration between design and choreography at the earliest stage.

English Touring Opera – Florence de Maré

Florence de Mare will designing Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo

Composer Gaetano Donizetti / Libretto by Jacopo Ferretti. Director James Conway.

This semi-seria (mixed genre) opera is based on a brief episode from Don Quixote. Its dream-like, obsessive narrative is told (and retold) with disarmingsimplicity, and important omission. On the shore of a colonised island a‘wild’ white man refuses to socialize, or to conform to the suggested socialorganization of the island, dedicated to profit. Some remembered homelandtrauma (observing his wife making love to another man, who may have beenhis brother) inhibits his integration.Each character – including the wife and brother who are also washed up on the island – sings their story. Here the wild man abuses and is abused by a black slave (a philosophical, comic character). Here the wild man and his wife meet again, are driven to hysterical blindness and attempted suicide – and here at length they see each other clearly, forgetting the unforgettable losses of the past.

Nottingham Playhouse – Madeleine Girling

Madeleine Girling will be designing Time and the Conways by J.B. Priestley

Directed by Fiona Buffini.

Priestley’s play, written in 1937, illustrates J. W. Dunne’s Theory of Time through the experience of a moneyed Yorkshire family, the Conways, over a period of nineteen years from 1919 to 1937. The first act is set in the Conway house in 1919 on the night of the birthday of one of the daughters, Kay. Act Two moves to the same night in 1937 and is set in the same room in the house. The final Act returns to 1919, seconds after the conclusion of Act One. The play operates on many different levels – a political history of Britain between the wars, a universal tragedy, a family romance and a metaphysical examination of Time. As such it remains one of Priestley’s most accomplished and many-layered works for the stage and one of his most popular.

National Theatre of Scotland – Ana Ines Jabares Pita

Ana Ines Jabares Pita is designing for National Theatre of Scotland – The Driver’s Seat, adapted by Laurie Sansom from the novel by Muriel Spark, directed by Laurie Sansom (production to be confirmed).



The Linbury Prize for Stage Design was founded by Lady Anya Sainsbury in 1987 as a springboard for recent graduates from theatre design courses around the UK. It gives applicants an unparalleled opportunity to work with professional arts companies and to collaborate with writers, directors and technical teams at a crucial stage in their careers.

Previous winners include some of the most important stage designers working today, including Tim Hatley, whose work includes Timon of Athens at the NT, Spamalot and Shrek the Musical in the West End and on Broadway; Anthony Ward, whose credits include Sweeney Todd at Chichester and in the West End and Headlong’s Enron; and Vicki Mortimer, whose extensive work for the NT includes Othello and The Last of the Haussmans.

The Linbury Prize for Stage Design is sponsored by the Linbury Trust, one of the Sainsbury Family Charitable Trusts.

Anya Sainsbury, Founder of the Linbury Prize

After a distinguished career as Anya Linden with the Royal Ballet Company from 1951 to 1965, becoming a ballerina in 1958, she retired from the company and went on to study stage design at the Slade School of Art. She married John Sainsbury in 1963 and has continued to be actively involved in the Royal Ballet School and the Rambert School.

About the Linbury Trust

The Linbury Trust is a charitable trust; it was established by Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover KG, and his wife Anya, Lady Sainsbury, CBE. The trustees of the Linbury Trust make grants to organisations and towards causes across a broad range of categories, including the Arts and Art Education, Social Welfare, Education, Environment and Heritage, Older People, Medical, and Developing Countries. Trustees give priority to causes in which they have a particular interest and where they have particular knowledge and experience, as exemplified by their support for the Linbury Prize for Stage Design.


Dundee Rep’s Bonar Hall


Dundee Rep’s Bonar Hall

Saturday 22 February 10am – 4pm

Monday 24-Friday 28 12pm – 8pm

Saturday 1 March 10am – 2pm

Private viewings can be arranged outside of these times. Please contact Dundee Rep 01382 227684 for more details.