by Thomas Brandon
03 Nov - 19 Dec 2008
Terry Parsons

Terry has designed thirty-seven productions in London West End and has been Head of Design at three major theatres: the Theatre Royal Plymouth, the Haymarket Leicester, and the Belgrade Coventry to which he won an Arts Council scholarship following his training at Cardiff Art College and London Central School of Art.

His many London musicals include the mega-hit Grease – which began life at the Dominion Theatre in London starring Craig McLachlan and Debbie Gibson and returned to the West End at the Piccadilly theatre in 2007 where it continues to play to packed houses – South Pacific, Sweet Charity, Some Like It Hot, Singin’ in the Rain and Charlie Girl. He designed Where’s Charley? and The Pirates of Penzance at the Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park and recently his stunning designs for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast attracted critical acclaim in Denmark where he has many credits including the musicals Showboat, Be Bop a Lula, a highly successful concert version of Grease and in 2008, The King and I and High School Musical.

Well-known for his pantomime designs, among them lavish versions of Cinderella for Stanley Baxter and Mother Goose for Danny La Rue, Terry is currently responsible for designing a portfolio of major new star-studded productions for the Ambassador Theatre Group’s theatres – amongst which have been Peter Pan at Wimbledon starring Henry Winkler, Cinderella starring Mickey Rooney, Snow White starring Ross Kemp – and this Christmas at Richmond, Peter Pan with Bonny Langford.

Terry designed the European Premieres of Edward Albee’s The Goat and the award winning Broadway hit Proof at Vienna’s English Theatre and earlier straight play designs include Silly Cow with Dawn French, Gasping with Hugh Laurie and Two Into One with Donald Sinden and Michael Williams – all in the West End. Other straight credits range from Shakespeare, Sheridan and Congreve to Orton, Ionesco and Durrenmatt, notably a critically acclaimed production of J. B. Priestley’s When We Are Married with Timothy West, Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge at the Whitehall Theatre, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge with Topol, and Priestley’s Time and the Conways at The Old Vic with Richard Olivier directing his mother Joan Plowright and sisters Tamsin and Julie-Kate Olivier. Terry also re-created designs for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End presentation of the play Daisy Pulls It Off.

His extensive regional credits include, at Chichester, Miranda with Penelope Keith and Underneath the Arches which transferred to the West End; at Liverpool No Trams to Lime Street, at Southampton The Surprise Party with Peter Duncan, Matthew Kelly and Ruth Madoc, and Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman, Shadie Business and the world premiere of Richard Harris’s A Foot in the Door at Sonning.

Terry’s string of international credits include, on Broadway, Sian Phillips’s stunning concert costumes for her appearance as Dietrich in Marlene, designs for Fame in Scandinavia, Grease in Paris, Chicago in Athens, as well as Romeo and Juliet, Blithe Spirit, Move Over Mrs Markham and Sailor Beware in Denmark, and Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Visiting Mr Green and Romantic Comedy in Vienna. He has worked in Canada, Australia and Japan, and designed countless of the all-star shows produced by Derek Nimmo in Hong Kong, the Middle and Far East, as well as productions for many major cruise lines including the QE2. Possibly the most unusual of his overseas assignments was his creation in Dubai of a magical fairy-tale Arabian Nights setting in the desert for three thousand guests – the ‘ultimate’ birthday party for one of the world’s wealthiest sheikhs!