Annie Smart is a designer of sets and costumes for the theatre. Originally from the UK, she trained as a singer, dancer and actress at London’s Arts Educational Trust before turning towards the visual side of theatre while taking an honors degree in Drama at Manchester University 1973-76. After post-graduate studies in Brechtian stage design she worked as a resident designer/collaborator for childrens’ theatre, theatre-in-education and community theatre companies, developing story-telling fantasies alongside educational and political pieces. Following this she was resident designer at Leicester Haymarket Studio Theatre and later, Liverpool Rep’. She was one of a handful of designers in the cutting-edge collective Joint Stock Theatre Group, developing the visuals for three major pieces with them: Fen, Fire in The Lake and A Mouthful of Birds. And, before moving to the USA, she designed both sets and costumes for five shows at The National Theatre of Great Britain: The Father, Man Beast and Virtue, Black Snow, The Mountain Giants, and Churchill’s The Skriker. Through the 1980s and 90s her work in the UK was particularly associated with emerging women’s and feminist theatre, designing the premieres of works by Caryl Churchill, Bryony Lavery, Anne Devlin, Sarah Daniels, Louise Page and Shelagh Stephenson.
More recently, and now resident in the US, she has designed four works by Charles Mee: Big Love, Wintertime, Fetes de la Nuit and Cardenio, all national premieres. Her work has been seen at such major theatres in the US, Germany and the UK as The Royal Court Theatre, Edinburgh’s Lyceum, The Public Theater, BAM, Arena Stage, The Guthrie, Long Wharf, ART, Steppenwolf, etc.
Directors she has regularly collaborated with include Les Waters, Annie Castledine, Jules Wright, William Gaskill, David Levaux, Tony Taccone, Carey Perloff, and Jonathon Moscone. California productions include Norah, Sheridan, The Importance of Being Earnest, Going to St Ives, all for La Jolla Playhouse; The Threepenny Opera, Night and Day, A Doll’s House at ACT San Francisco; A Long Day’s Journey into Night for San Jose Rep; Man and Superman, Othello and The Tempest for California Shakespeare Festival; The Right Kind of People and Tir Na N’og for Magic Theater; and for Berkeley Rep’s Suddenly Last Summer, Yellowman, Irma Vep, Honour, Finn in the Underworld, Passing Strange, To The Lighthouse, Heartbreak House, Yellowjackets and Taking Over.
Locally developed shows include DW Jacobs’exploration of the iconoclast and innovator Buckminster Fuller, The History and Mystery of the Universe, and both Josh Kornbluth’s Ben Franklin, Unplugged and his weekly TV show for KQED. Before moving to the US, amongst numerous other teaching experiences, Annie was Chair of the MA in Theatre Design and Scenography at London’s Wimbledon School of Art. In the US she has been an adjunct professor of stage design at UC San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance. She is currently a lecturer in costume here at UC Berkeley.