Guys and Dolls - Kilworth House Theatre 2018
Directed by Nick Winston
Guys and Dolls - Kilworth House Theatre 2018
Directed by Nick Winston
Philip Witcomb is a prolific and versatile Set and Costume designer nominated for multiple ‘Best Design’ awards both nationally and internationally. With over twenty years experience, Philip has designed over 70 productions across every scale, from intimate studio theatres to opera house stages and from multi venue tours to large scale open-air productions. His designs have an epic and operatic sense of scale and ambition with a central emphasis on visual story-telling.
Designs for Elijah Moshinsky's seminal and celebrated London production of Benjamin Britten's opera 'The Turn of The Screw' at Wiltons Music Hall were described in The Independent as "Designs that dwell well on one brilliant coup, delivering events to your eyeball" and The Guardian commented that "This is without question, the definitive Turn of the Screw for our times".
Philip's designs for 'Cinderella' directed by James Brining for Dundee Repertory Theatre were hailed in The Scotsman as "Boasting one of the most staggeringly beautiful pieces of design ever seen on the Scottish stage" and earned him a nomination for 'Best Design' at the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
★ 'OUTSTANDING SCENIC DESIGN' - THE GOOD PEACHES for Cleveland Playhouse and Cleveland Orchestra, Ohio USA.
2016 - Broadway World Regional Theatre Tributes.
Annual tribute to artists and designers.
★ 'BEST DESIGNER' - THE GLASS MENAGERIE for Milwaukee Rep Theatre, USA.
2017 - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - USA Today Network.
Annual tribute to artists and designers.
★ 'BEST SCENIC DESIGN' - Nomination - AMADEUS for The Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Florida U.S.A.
2012 - Carbonell Awards.
Annual award ceremony recognising excellence in theatre for the South Florida region of the United States.
★ 'BEST DESIGN' - Nomination and 'Best Production for Children' - CINDERELLA for Dundee Rep Theatre.
2005/6 - Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland.
Annual ceremony awarded by the theatre critics of Scotland to celebrate the best Scottish theatre achievements in the theatre.
★ 'BEST DESIGNER' - Nomination - LOVE IN A MAZE for The Watermill Theatre, Newbury.
2002 - T.M.A Theatre Awards.
Premier theatre award ceremony celebrating theatre and is the only nationwide awards scheme to honour creative excellence and the outstanding achievement seen on and off stage throughout England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
★ 'BEST DESIGN' - LOVE IN A MAZE for The Watermill Theatre, Newbury.
2002 Richard Price Design Award.
An independent annual award celebrating the best of The Watermill Theatre productions.
★ FINALIST - Linbury Prize for Stage Design.
1999 - Linbury Prize.
The U.K's most prestigious award for Stage Design. This biennial prize, the most important of its kind, brings together the best of emerging designers with professional theatre, dance and opera companies.
Philip began his design career studying Theatre Crafts at Cleveland College of Art and Design in the North East of England. At the age of 18 he then went on to study Theatre Design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. After graduating from his Degree in 1996 he was invited by the eminent director and designer Philip Prowse to work at The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. At this time 'The Citz' ran an annual placement for one selected graduate to join the design team under the guidance of the then head of design, Kenny Miller. The experience of working in this incredibly dynamic building, surrounded by extraordinary actors, directors and designers was the single most significant and defining moment in Philip's career as the legacy of the Citizens Theatre, its famous design aesthetic and the work created by Giles Havergal, Philip Prowse and Robert David Macdonald has had a far-reaching impact on Philip's subsequent development as a designer.
In studying Theatre Design at degree level, Philip found that, although he was very aware of the necessity to develop the practical skills needed to become a rounded designer in an increasingly technical medium, he was inevitably frustrated designing scale models for productions that would simply never exist. It wasn't until this experience in Glasgow, surrounded by such talented visual artists crafting intelligent and beautifully executed designs that skillfully communicated stories with effortless style and all on such small budgets that Philip understood just how thrilling this medium could be.
After a year in Glasgow, and with his first professional design job under his belt, Widower's Houses directed by Giles Havergal, Philip returned refocused to London to study under Philip Prowse on the Theatre Design M.A at The Slade School of Fine Art. This was an opportunity to harness the invaluable experience of being part of a working theatre, together with a new found freedom to be able to respond to dramatic texts without the previous restrictions of creating scale models of 'fantasy' productions.
At The Slade, students were encouraged to respond to the source material in any medium they chose and Philip's centrepiece for his final exhibition drew influence from the great Beat Generation artist Edward Kienholtz, producing a large sculptural altar piece based on Friedrich Durrenmatt's dark morality play The Visit. Philip graduated from The Slade School of Fine Art with a 1st (distinction) and later privately exhibited and sold much of his final show at The London Contemporary Art Fair. On the basis of Philip's work at The Slade he was then selected to compete for the prestigious Linbury Prize for Stage Design culminating in an exhibition of his designs at The Royal National Theatre in London.
Since the formative years at The Citizens Theatre, Philip has brought a design aesthetic that fluidly reinvents itself from project to project to a diverse array of companies in both the United Kingdom and the United States. The work does however possess a unique fingerprint, one that illuminates a story through its cultural context and visual metaphor. His designs strip back all that is visually unnecessary, creating landscapes that transform and dissolve with ease. Crafting a poetry of objects, architecture and spaces - for stories to be told within, events to happen upon and for actors to inhabit. The work is not bound by a strict code of naturalism, but a design aesthetic that seeks to be released, to express and reveal layers of a story to an audience through broader and more poetic brush strokes.
An integral part of Philip's working practice is the value and importance he places on his collaborations with other creatives. In understanding the impact that a clear holistic vision and strong cross departmental involvement can bring to a project and a building, Philip is committed to consistently engage and inspire the teams he works with and values the fundamental relationships that are essential to the integrity of the design and success of a production.
The Citizens Theatre, Glasgow.
★ Philip designed both Set and Costumes on all productions unless otherwise stated.
RESIDENT SET AND COSTUME DESIGNER 2016 - 2017
THE SPENCE SCHOOL FOR GIRLS
PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT LOWER, MIDDLE AND UPPER SCHOOL
NEW YORK, U.S.A
Contracted to design the Sets and Costumes for 4 productions across The Spence School's academic year for the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools, culminating in their annual large scale Dance Show at The Symphony Space in New York.
Designing, managing and budgeting the productions and working alongside the students to create the work.
★ Forbes Magazine ranked The Spence School for Girls in the Top Ten of America's Best Prep Schools.
SET AND COSTUME DESIGN LECTURER 2005
BARKING AND DAGENHAM COLLEGE
PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT BTEC PRODUCTION ARTS
BARKING, ESSEX U.K
Lecturing post within the BTEC Performing Arts Department faculty.
9-month contract lecturing students at BTEC Level in Theatre Set and Costume Design, model making, prop building and research analysis.
Providing logistic support and management of the students design work for performance projects.
Maintaining and expanding the practical resources and requirements of the department.
Supervising student field trips to the RSC Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon.
★ Award-winning College described by Ofsted as 'Outstanding'.
THEATRE TECHNICIAN/DESIGNER 1999 - 2004
LEYTON SIXTH FORM COLLEGE
PERFORMING ARTS DEPARTMENT BTEC PERFORMING ARTS
LEYTON, LONDON U.K.
Providing support for the BTEC Performing Arts Department faculty.
Maintaining, running and improving the departments theatre space and resources.
Supporting the diverse practical requirements in delivering the programs within the Drama, Dance and Music Departments.
Supporting, supervising and teaching students in the designing and building of the sets, props and costumes for 4-6 productions per year.
Teaching and supervising the students in maintaining and rigging lighting equipment.
Tutoring students in the running of the lighting board, sound and A.V. equipment.
Supporting the students work through the Royal National Theatre's 'Connections Festival' culminating in a performance of their work at the NT’s Olivier Theatre.
★ Received a glowing rating with inspectors remarking on the friendly and diverse nature of the institution. Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme centre.
SCENIC ARTIST/DESIGNER 1996 - 1997
THE CITIZENS THEATRE
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND U.K.
Selected from his final degree show at Central Saint Martins by the director and designer Philip Prowse to work as part of the design and scenic art department on several productions across a season.
★ The Citizens Theatre is an iconic venue and theatre company based in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. The 'Citz' is world renowned for championing groundbreaking design and performance and is recognised as one of the leading theatres in the United Kingdom.
M.F.A in Theatre Design - 1st (Distinction)
1997 - 1999
★ The Slade School of Fine Art is one of the world's leading art schools. Based in London, England, it is a department of the University College London (UCL). An art school with a world leading reputation, the Slade makes a significant contribution to the field of contemporary art both nationally and internationally. Slade alumni go on to achieve a high level of international recognition and success and account for many leading figures in the international art world including a large number of Turner Prize winners and nominees.
B.A Hons in Theatre Design - 2.2
1993 - 1996
★ Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design is a constituent college of the University of the Arts London (UAL). The school has an outstanding international reputation, and is considered one of the world's leading arts and design institutions. Generations of internationally renowned artists, designers and performers - individuals whose work has defined or transformed our times - began their creative journeys at Central Saint Martins.
BTec National Diploma in Theatre Crafts - 1st (Distinction)
1990 - 1993
★ Cleveland College of Art and Design has been established for well over 100 years and is the only educational institution in the North-East of England solely devoted to art and design. The majority of the staff are practising artists, designers and craftsmen.