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Based in London, award-winning performance designer, Joanna Parker, works nationally and internationally designing sets, costumes and video for theatre, opera and dance. 


Joanna's work has premiered in the UK, Europe and the USA. She has designed for Glyndebourne Festival and Tour, Opera North, The Royal Opera House, Montepellier Opera, Malmo Opera, English Touring Opera, Scottish Opera, The Grange Festival, The Abbey Theatre Dublin, Complicité, The Globe, The Young Vic, Theatre Rites, Hampstead Theatre, Clean Break Theatre Company and Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. 


Recent designs and video work include: Aida, Montepellier Opera; Glass Human (a new opera by Melanie Wilson and Sam Fernando), Glyndebourne Tour; Translations, The Abbey Theatre and Lyric Theatre Belfast (UK Theatre Award 2022); Much Ado About Nothing, The Globe Theatre; world premieres of i Girl (Marina Carr) and Walls and Windows (Rosaleen McDonagh), The Abbey Theatre Dublin; Zoe’s Peculiar Journey Through Time, The Burgtheater Vienna and Theatre Rites; and The Barber of Seville, Malmo Opera. 


Current designs and video direction include: The Pearl Fishers, Opera North; Mozart’s Requiem and a response to the requiem, Opera North and Cape Town Opera; a new composition by Neo Muyanga for Opera North and Cape Town Opera; Salman Rushdie’s new play, Helen, Birmingham Rep and tour for 2024.


Joanna's work and processes develop new methods for contemporary performance alongside traditional approaches. As well as modelling and drawing in her studio, she explores real-time composition with materials, music and text and the body using video. These explorations happen in parallel to conventional production rehearsals. They are poly-vocal, filming participants not necessarily directly involved in the live production. Materials and bodies interact and explore questions that cannot always be articulated through language. They are animated back into live production design through projection. 


Originally trained in Dance and Choreography at London Contemporary Dance School, Joanna started her career as a movement director, choreographing theatre and opera productions. She began working as a performance designer at the same time, having been awarded the Arts Council’s Design Bursary. Her unique approach to creating a performance space starts with imagining and drawing the performer, working in close collaboration with the director and moving between design studio and rehearsal room. 


She teaches part time on the MA Scenography at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Assistants and associates are an important part of the design process in her studio. They have included Rebecca van Beeck, Lulu Tam, Leanne Vandenbussche, Daria Vasko, Ana Sofia Londono and Sofia Esquivel.




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