The Linbury Prize Exhibition/National Theatre/Pieces of String/November 17 

This design was created for the final of the Linbury Prize 2017 - the national biennial prize for emerging theatre designers. This design was one of the 12 designs exhibited by the finalists at the National Theatre in November 2017 - January 2018


In this conceptual design for Pieces of String by Gus Gowland, the house – and the secrets and memories it contains – is reminiscent of a packing box, caught between being opened up and revealed and closed down and hidden away. The form and materials are inspired by the contradictory depictions of buildings’ permanence and transience within the war paintings of Graham Sutherland. Edward’s house – a seemingly strong structure, protecting the family from the horrors of war or from the unwanted gaze of society – is shown to be paper thin and fragile as light penetrates the house and memories seep in.

Anna and Edward’s once unified appearance becomes dull and disjointed as their hope fades whilst the repeated parallels between their lives and those of the present day characters are emphasised through subtle similarities in costume. As the past and present are played out amongst the packing boxes the family’s world is shown to be one where expectations and hopes are continually subverted before relationships begin to be reconciled.


Director- Daniel Buckroyd

Designer- Abby Clarke