Martin Morley

A Life in Theatre & Television Design

Home Biography Theatre Television Contacts and Links

‘The Workhouse Donkey’

By John Arden

Character studies           

Wimbledon School of Art 1963-66  Student work

The Course

For the first year the Theatre Design course focused on building up historical knowledge and a series of plays were tackled in historical sequence and the brief was to design them with theatrical flare but in the period that they were set -not written. ‘Le Malade Imaginaire’ repesented the 17th Century.

Although the painting technique is dreadful in the example shown I remember enjoying creating the atmosphere.

Below are other some other examples of work that I did. They are  oh so different to the organised work that I see coming out of todays courses.

There was great emphasis in portraying character both in set and costume but little on presentation. In fact one of the biggest put downs was to call someone’s work ‘slick’ or ‘professional’

Brother Bill left, from ‘The Entertainer’ and ‘Bluebeard’, right, are the two projects I referred to in my piece about Richard Negri and how he could so accurately spot a false style. He was quite right: there is for more character portrayed in the simple suited figure than in the vapid expressionism of the ‘Bluebeard’ design. However, it is necessary to explore these avenues, even if they turn out to be cul de sacs.

‘Le Malade Imaginaire’ by Moliere. 1st year design project

‘The Leather Bottle’

Nearest pub to the WSA.

Many hours spent there.


‘Arms and the Man’


Diploma Show project

‘Comedy of Errors’


2nd year project

‘The Storm’


3 rd year project

These drawings plus the model I also made were entered as my submission for the annual Arts Council Design Assistant bursary which led to my first job at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh. So, scrappy as they are, they mean a lot to me.

‘The Workhouse Donkey’

By John Arden

Character studies

Studies for ‘Volpone’by Ben Jonson