Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 36

Modern Theatres:

An Interview with
David Staples
As the conclusion of our years-long series on Modern Theatres, Karin
Winkelsesser of Bühnentechnische Rundschau (BTR), the journal of the
Deutsche Theatertechnische Gesellschaft (Germany's Theatre Technical Society) sits down with series editor David Staples to discuss the
entire project and lessons that we can take from these facilities and this
retrospective.
BY KARIN WINKELSESSER

You have accomplished the book
Modern Theatres. Congratulations! If I understand it right, this is the culmination of more than 40 years of work
as a theatre consultant. How did you get
the idea to work as a theatre consultant?
It is a profession one could not learn or
study in those times.

moved onto something else. Forty-four
years on, I can think of no job that could
have been more varied and rewarding.

I first got involved with theatre doing the lighting for
school plays at the age of 11. I went
through school and college with a passion
for theatre. Rather more prosaically at
Polytechnic I studied business administration and management.
My professional involvement in theatre buildings dates back to 1975 when
Richard Brett recruited me to Theatre
Projects Consultants. I was subsequently mentored and inspired by Richard
Pilbrow, one of the luminaries of our industry. I joined Theatre Projects in my
early 20s and I thought it might keep me
interested for four or five years, before I

My career evolved over time.
When I joined Theatre
Projects, it was a UK consulting company
with no overseas work. At that time, the
work was mainly on smaller-scale UK
theatre buildings and my role was as a
relatively junior consultant. I think the
reason I effectively made my life at
Theatre Projects was [because of] the
many ways in which the company evolved
and my growing role in that development.
There were probably three aspects of that
development: geography, type of project,
and services offered.
In terms of geography, having started as a U.K.-centered company, as the

BTR:

STAPLES

What was your job as a Theatre
Consultant? And, how many theatres did you work on in your professional
career?
BTR:

36 | THEATRE DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY | SPRING 2021

STAPLES

business and its reputation developed,
there were increasing opportunities to
work on international projects, initially
in former British-influenced territories:
Hong Kong, West Africa, etc. The oil
price boom brought interest in theatres
in the Middle East. A significant project in
Calgary, Alberta was our first consulting
project in North America and it became
apparent that our expertise and services
might be attractive to clients in the United
States. Since then, the team has spread
across the globe.
There are a wide variety of different
theatre buildings-playhouse, concert
hall, dance venue, opera house, recital
rooms, etc. Each type presents differing
challenges as the client and design team
search for a solution for that particular
community.
When theatre consultancy first
emerged as a discipline in the U.K., U.S.,
and Germany, it was initially focused on
the equipment-getting the lights, rigging,
sound systems, etc., in the correct place



Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021

Contents
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover2
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - 1
Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Contents
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Theatre Design & Technology - Spring 2021 - Cover3
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