wed 21/11/2018

Ralph Koltai, from theatre designer to sculptor | reviews, news & interviews

Ralph Koltai, from theatre designer to sculptor

Ralph Koltai, from theatre designer to sculptor

Celebrated stage designer unveils his parallel creative art

Sculpture by Ralph Koltai, stage designer and metal worker

Koltai’s stage designs have been seen in countless operas and theatre productions around the world, and yielded many awards. Of Hungarian extraction, he was born in Berlin in 1924 and granted entry to the UK in 1939. He served with British Intelligence at the Nuremberg Trials before going on to train at the Central School of Art and Design, where he later became head of theatre design. He was created a CBE in 1983. At 86, he remains associate designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

He now lives in France, where he takes objects found on nearby farms, predominantly metal but also wood, and fashions them into three-dimensional compositions. They are often inspired by, or arise from, his theatre designs. A tree root, for example, ended up as the chief element of his design for The Romans in Britain at Sheffield Crucible in 2006.

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