Bob Crowley: Set Designer

Bob Crowley, was born in Ireland in 1952, and is a theatre designer (scenic and costume) and theatre director. Bob Crowley's set designs have been the back drop of some of the biggest theatrical hits to the West end and Broadway. His sketches, models and photographs are some of his personal favourite creations. His brother John also had a love and interest in the theatre world, so him to is a theatre director. Crowley won a Tony award and was nominated for 2 Oliviers for his set design for Mary Poppins. He said, "I illustrated this set and I don't normally do that. I decided to do a series of black-and-white drawings because I loved the ink drawings by Mary Shepard in the original story. I drew them on a kind of tissue paper, so it all had a grey, foggy London pallor about it. And we used lots of silhouettes – I love silhouettes."

Mary Poppins: About the Set Design

"Bob Crowley's set design is integral to the theatrical scenic marvel that is MARY POPPINS. Central to the story are the Banks' house and the magical park. Designers and crew explain the daunting task of touring productions -- designing a set that can travel from city to city and still captures the massive scale of the Broadway show."

Bob Crowley: Interview

"Scenic and costume designer Bob Crowley opened his London studio to us to discuss the look of Tony winner "Once," which is now playing both on Broadway and in the West End. Find out Crowley's inspiration for the cozy, comfy pub and more!"

Images of the design

More about Bob!

When he first wanted to be a set designer:

When he first saw Oliver designed by an Irishman called Sean Kenny in the 60s, he started to become interested in the set and design of it. He saw that Sean took all the scenery away and revealed the walls of the theatre and the lighting rig. So he began to have many ideas popping in to his head.

Where he learned his profession:

He did fine art for a while, and then decided that he really wanted to work in the theatre, so he went to England and studied at the Bristol Old Vic theatre school for a year, then started working his way up in the business.

Most upsetting experience:

A musical he did on Broadway, written by the great songwriter Paul Simon. It was his first musical. He worked on and off with Paul on that musical for about four years. It was a close partnership, but it was just a miserable experience. The critics were absolutely vitriolic about it, to what I thought was a disgraceful degree. It was the most painful experience he ever had.

Favourite part of the job:

He loves it when you get a great script, and you get a great rush of adrenaline having read it for the first time, and you think, "Crikey, this is going to be fantastic." That's a great moment. He loves using empty pages and trying to work out how this thing is going to be staged. The process of beginning a project, he finds scary but unbelievably exciting.


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