Transformation & Revelation: Gormley To Gaga - Designing for Performance

Preview by Emma Segal | 01 Jan 2013

The V&A museum is enjoying a special relationship with Scotland of late. Work is due to begin on the V&A’s Dundee branch in the new year, but in the meantime, some its finest exhibitions are travelling to Scotland. The most recent touring exhibition, presented in association with the Society of British Theatre Designers, is sure to be a ‘must see,’ not least because there is no entry fee (surely a welcome detail in this expensive festive season). Entitled Transformation & Revelation: Gormley to Gaga – Designing for Performance, the exhibition celebrates the work of the most pioneering British theatre designers, architects and artists of recent years.  

Far from confining itself to one medium, the exhibition will feature everything from opera costumes to video projections – the central tenet is that all these pieces have been used to enhance the performance. By placing different media next to each other in this way, it becomes possible to understand how designers approach the tasks associated with performance: from transforming spaces, to utilising sound.

The exhibition also offers the visitor a ‘behind the scenes’ view of the creative process, showcasing a variety of sketches, photographs and scale models. This in turn allows the audience to appreciate the entire process, from the conception of an idea, to model building and the live performance itself.

Undoubtedly one of the central draws of the exhibition is the work of Es Devlin, whose creations include costumes for Lady Gaga’s 2010 Monster Ball tour. The exhibition also features Rae Smith’s drawings of the digital projections used in the West End production of War House. Other names and works to look out for include Antony Gormley, Ralph Koltai and Marie-Jeanne Lecca.

The setting of Summerhall (the former Royal School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh) seems ideal for the exhibition. A creative hub for the Arts, its studio and workshop spaces have been a hive of cultural activity in recent months.

The exhibition runs from the 15 Dec through to 22 Feb, and opens from 11am-6pm daily. Entry is free. More information is available at

Exhibition runs until Feb 22, 11am till 6pm daily. Free entry. Summerhall (the old Dick Vet building) 9 Summerhall Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1QE.