Born in England, I’m of Anglo-Czech parentage and trained at Wimbledon School of Art under Malcolm Pride and Richard Negri.
I worked exclusively as a free lance set and costume designer for over a decade before returning to Wimbledon to succeed Malcolm Pride and lead at first the undergraduate and then the post graduate Theatre Design course, with an interim period leading cross-disciplinary MA Drawing. I am a researcher in theatre design at the University of the Arts London.
As a founder member of the Propeller Theatre company I’ve designed all but one of their world touring all-male ensemble Shakespeare productions, including the US production of Rose Rage (based on Propeller’s 2001 production) at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater that transferred to 42nd Street, New York.
My other designs, among over 160 productions, include two plays with film and theatre director Lindsey Anderson: The Fishing Trip and Holiday (Old Vic Theatre). At the Library Theatre, Manchester, my designs for Brecht and Shakespeare include; The Life of Galileo, Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, The Good Soul of Szechuan, Measure for Measure and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Designs at the Library for classical tales include Neil Bartlett’s ensemble adaptations of Oliver Twist and Great Expectations.
International work includes The Last Laugh (Tokyo) and the first African language Mother Courage and Her Children at Uganda’s National Theatre, the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC and Grahamstown Festival, RSA.
I designed Revelations and Off the Wall with Liam Steel and physical theatre company Stan Won’t Dance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on London’s South Bank. The designs for Off the Wall represented the UK at the Prague Quadrennial in 2011 and my designs for Propeller’s Richard III were exhibited to critical acclaim at World Stage Design 2013.
In London’s West End, productions include: Twelve Angry Men, Absurd Person Singular (Garrick Theatre) and The Constant Wife (Apollo and Lyric Theatres), How the Other Half Loves (Duke of York’s Theatre), Robin Prince of Sherwood (Piccadilly Theatre), Leonardo the Musical (Strand Theatre), Other People’s Money (Lyric Theatre), Blues in the Night (Donmar and Piccadilly Theatres and also in Dublin, New York and Tokyo), Macbeth (Albery Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Comedy Theatre), Rose Rage and A Few Good Men (Theatre Royal Haymarket) directed by David Esbjornson. My latest production is the musical Funny Girl (Savoy Theatre) starring Sheridan Smith.
Later productions with David include; Twelfth Night (Seattle Repertory Theater) and Death of a Salesman (Gate Theatre, Dublin). Other productions in Ireland, directed by Patrick Mason, include Hay Fever (Gate Theatre and Charleston NC) and the world premier of Frank McGuinness’ The Hanging Gardens at the National Theatre.
My designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company in the RST and Swan Theatres, Stratford upon Avon and at the Barbican Centre London include: The Odyssey, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Henry V and Julius Caesar; and for the National Theatre in the Olivier Theatre, Edmond, starring Kenneth Branagh.
I live in London and France.
Archive interviews about Michael can be found at the British Library as part of the National Life Stories: An Oral History of British Theatre Design.