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. Now based in Greenwich, London, his work as a set and costume designer for opera and theatre takes him all over the globe, creating new productions with some of the world’s most significant companies. 

Recent and current credits include - Verdi’s MACBETH for the Vienna State Opera, directed by Christian Räth, which opened the 2015-2016 season and is scheduled to run in repertory into 2016-17 - after the premiere last October the creative team were invited back for a new production opening in summer 2018 (the title of which will be announced soon). Other current work - ILLUMINATIONS, an innovative fusion of circus and opera for the 2016 Aldeburgh Music Festival, directed and choreographed by Struan Leslie, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, a major new touring production of the Rogers and Hammerstein classic which opened in early 2015 and continues to tour Great Britain throughout 2016, a new stage adaptation of THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, which toured nationally in 2015 and is being revived in Autumn 2016, and set designs for MARIA DE RUDENZ which will feature in this year’s Wexford Opera Festival, on which Gary will collaborate for the first time with Italian director Fabio Ceresa - who has very recently won Best Young Director at the International Opera Awards.

Gary has a long relationship with the Nederlandse Reisopera in Holland, and working alongside director Laurence Dale has designed a variety of productions for them which include MADAM BUTTERFLY (where he co-designed the costumes with avant-garde Dutch fashion designer Winde Rienstra), THE BARBER OF SEVILLE, LA VOIX HUMAINE / L’HEURE ESPAGNOLE (sets only, costumes by Fabio Toblini), and he is currently preparing to open a new ARIADNE AUF NAXOS for the company in September 2016. 

His work with director Paul Curran includes -  LA TRAVIATA, which premiered at Bucharest National Opera prior to several American remounts, the first of which was 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. In 2017 a new production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s THE GOLDEN COCKEREL will premiere at Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico. 

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 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 in the School of Arts at the University of Kent where he ran the 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.