THEATRE AND OPERA DESIGNER
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About

Photo by Marco Borggreve

Photo by Marco Borggreve

GARY McCANN

Originally from Northern Ireland, Gary trained at Nottingham Trent University, graduating with first class honours in Theatre Design. With bases in London and Berlin, his work as a set and costume designer for opera, musicals and theatre takes him all over the globe, creating new productions with some of the world’s most significant companies. 

Recent and forthcoming credits include - THE GOLDEN COCKEREL for Santa Fe Opera,  DER FREISCHÜTZ and MACBETH for the Vienna State Opera, KILLOLOGY for the Royal Court Theatre and Sherman Cymru, CARMENfor Philadelphia Opera, MY FAIR LADY (sets) for the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, LA CLEMENZA DI TITO for Opéra de Lausanne in Switzerland, THE FLYING DUTCHMAN for the Nederlandse Reisopera, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES and CILLA THE MUSICAL major new UK tours for Bill Kenwright Ltd, ILLUMINATIONS, an innovative fusion of circus and opera for the 2016 Aldeburgh Music Festival, directed and choreographed by Struan Leslie, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, the new UK production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic touring from 2015-2018, a new stage adaptation of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, which toured nationally in 2015 and 2016, and set designs for MARIA DE RUDENZ for the 2016 Wexford Opera Festival, which will travel to Minnesota Opera in 2018. 

Gary regularly collaborates with the Nederlandse Reisopera in Holland, and working alongside director Laurence Dale has designed a variety of productions for them which include ARIADNE AUF NAXOS, MADAM BUTTERFLY (where he co-designed the costumes with avant-garde Dutch fashion designer Winde Rienstra), THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, and a double bill of LA VOIX HUMAINE / L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE (sets only, costumes by Fabio Toblini).

His work with director Paul Curran includes -  LA TRAVIATA, which premiered at Bucharest National Opera prior to being remounted at Philadelphia Opera in 2015, BECOMING SANTA CLAUS, a new family opera by Mark Adamo commissioned by Dallas Opera, THE FLYING DUTCHMAN for Ekaterinburg Opera in Russia, and Handel’s FARAMONDO for Göttingen Festspeile in Germany, which subsequently formed the centrepiece of the inaugural Brisbane Baroque Festival in Australia - where it won Best Opera Production at the 2015 Helpmann Awards and was also nominated for Best Costume Design. 

Other notable productions from recent years - DIE FLEDERMAUS for Norwegian National Opera, 33 VARIATIONS directed by Stephanie Mohr for Vienna’s Volkstheater, THREE DAYS IN MAY, which starred Warren Clarke as Winston Churchill and ran at Trafalgar Studios in the West End, OWEN WINGRAVE for Amsterdam’s Opera Trionfo and Theater Osnabrück, directed by Floris Visser, FIDELIO for Garsington Opera directed by John Cox, and a UK tour of DANGEROUS CORNER which was directed by Michael Attenborough.

In April 2015 Gary was commissioned by the National Trust to create art installations in 18th Century follies at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.

In 2007 he designed the world premiere of THE PITMEN PAINTERS by playwright Lee Hall for Live Theatre in Newcastle. It subsequently transferred to the National Theatre in London, where it ran initially at the Cottesloe Theatre, and then due to phenomenal audience demand moved into the Lyttelton, toured nationally, then opened on Broadway at the Friedman Theatre in conjunction with Manhattan Theatre Club. When it returned to the UK it had a further life in the West End at the Duchess Theatre. A separate production was also made for the Volkstheater in Vienna in a new German translation by Michael Raab. Other significant work for Live Theatre includes the world premiere of A NORTHERN ODYSSEY by Shelagh Stephenson, and THE GIRL IN THE YELLOW DRESS a co-production with the Market Theatre in Johannesburg, which also played the Baxter Theatre in Capetown and the Stadttheater in Stockholm.

Between 2007 and 2009 Gary worked as interior designer on the new KESTREL superyacht range constructed in Antalya, Turkey. Between 1999 and 2004 he worked as Art Director on major TV events for Channel 4, ITV, Endemol, and India’s Zee TV. From 2007 to 2011 he was Lecturer in Design with the School of Arts at the University of Kent where he ran a masters-level programme in Scenography. 

His work has been exhibited at the V&A museum in London three times - as part of the COLLABORATORS, TRANSFORMATION/REVELATION and MAKE/SPACE exhibitions.