Jamie Vartan studied Fine Art at Brighton Polytechnic and Theatre Design at Central St Martins, and has worked extensively in theatre and opera in Ireland & the UK, with representations at Prague Quadrennials in 1999, 2007 & 2011, and World Stage Design 2013.
He worked for three years on The Lost Child Trilogy (David Glass Ensemble), including residencies in Vietnam, Indonesia, China, the Philippines and Colombia, followed by an installation at the October Gallery, London, based on his work from the overseas residencies.
He designed Enda Walsh’s one-man show Misterman (Landmark Productions/Galway International Arts Festival 2011) starring Cillian Murphy, with transfers to New York (St Anne’s Warehouse) and NT Lyttleton. Other collaborations with Enda Walsh include Ballyturk (Galway International Arts Festival 2014, Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Cork Opera House & NT Lyttleton) and the opera The Last Hotel (written by Enda Walsh, composer Donnacha Dennehy), for the Edinburgh International Festival 2015.
Among his other Irish theatre credits, he has designed a number of productions at the Abbey Theatre and also for Blue Raincoat, Sligo.
Designs for opera include productions at Malmo Opera, Salzburg Festspielhaus, Opera Marseille, Teatro Sao Carlos, Lisbon, La Scala, Milan, Teatro Lirico di Cagliari, Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Teatro Comunale, Florence, Teatro Farnese, Parma, the Royal Opera House and Scottish Opera.
Jamie is represented by Loesje Sanders, +44 (0) 1394 385 260, email@example.com
- Best Set Design Award, World Stage Design 2013, Cardiff
- Best Set Design Irish Times Theatre Awards 2013 for A Village Romeo and Juliet (Wexford Festival Opera)
- Best Set Design Irish Times Theatre Awards 2012 for Misterman (Landmark Productions/Galway International Arts Festival)
- Nominated Best Set Design Evening Standard Awards 2012 for Misterman (Landmark Productions/Galway International Arts Festival)
The aim with the design for Ballyturk was to create a space that felt real but unfathomable, like a laboratory. As though it had been occupied, adapted and customised over time by its two occupants, one of them an obsessive artist, 30 years of drawings plastered up the wall and across under the ceiling beams, the other an exercise addict.
The strong light and shadows cast down form the above the set, through concrete beams give the feeling that there is an outside force above and around them that is controlling the space, the sound and the light.
The wood veneered furniture has the feeling of having been added over time, stacked up high, all pushed to the sides of the room, as though the cabinets have been dropped into the space over time.
Model and set details
Misterman is a one-man show that focuses on Thomas Magill, a loner turned evangelist, renown in his village for obsessively recording the voices of the villagers of Inishfree on his treasured cassette recorder ; we had to find a way in which, with the help of a forest of reel to reel tape decks, he could re-enact the sequence of events that have led him to now be on the run and in hiding from this small town community, to end up living in this vast, ominous, deserted warehouse, performing to an imagined audience.
The set was designed and adapted for two different warehouse theatre venues (the Black Box and St Anne’s Warehouse ), followed by a third development of the design for the National Theatre London (Lyttleton stage), opening up and incorporating the upstage scene dock.
The design needed to feel as real and as vast as possible, suspended factory lights replacing the overhead lighting rig; to feel purgatorial, to evoke chambers of the mind, to be a place that felt alive and life-threatening, a character in itself; black walls, exposed electrical cables, dripping water, repeated structures with collapsing floors, the sound of a stray dog barking behind metal dock doors; physically challenging, but also providing smaller intimate, improvised, confined acting areas where Thomas could have all his props meticulously set up; it needed to have a dark beauty.