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Designer Bob Crowley was born in the Irish city of Cork. After studying fine art at the Crawford Art School, he moved to England to train in theatre design at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Crowley’s breakthrough production was The Duchess of Malfi at the Royal Exchange, a huge critical success that resulted in Crowley being invited to work for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. He later made his Royal Opera debut in 1987 creating designs for The King Goes Forth to France, directed by Nicholas Hytner, and has since created designs for La Traviata, directed by Richard Eyre, and The Knot Garden and Don Carlo, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Crowley has additionally created designs for The Royal Ballet, including the 1996 revival of Kenneth MacMillan’s Anastasia and Christopher Wheeldon’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Winter’s Tale, and Strapless.
Over the years, Crowley has designed more than twenty productions for the National Theatre, including Pinocchio, The Hard Problem, Travelling Light, The Habit of Art, Phèdre, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, Collaborators, Fram - which he also co-directed - His Girl Friday, Mourning Becomes Electra, and The History Boys. He’s also designed numerous productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company, including The Plantagenets for which he won an Olivier Award, along with Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Crowley has designed extensively for Broadway and the West End, including in 2018 for My Name is Lucy Barton and Alys Always at the Bridge Theatre, as well as in 2019 for Inheritance, which was transferred from the Young Vic. His designs have been featured in movies and television films, including Othello, Tales from Hollywood, Suddenly Last Summer, and The Crucible. Other opera designs include Great Scott at the Dallas Opera, The Magic Flute at the English National Opera, and The Cunning Little Vixen at Théâtre du Châtelet. Additional designs were made for The Glass Menagerie, Carousel, The Capeman, Disney’s Aladdin, Aida, and Mary Poppins, The Year of Magical Thinking, Coast of Utopia, Once, The Audience, Skylight, Don Carlo, La Traviata, An American in Paris, and Tarzan, which he also directed.
Crowley’s many accolades include The RDI Award, seven Tony Awards, three Olivier Awards, The Royal Designer for Industry Award, and the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatrical Design.