Terry back in Coventry to design Sleeping Beauty

Published: 3 November 2018
Reporter: Steve Orme

Fifty years after designing his first pantomime at the Belgrade Theatre, designer Terry Parsons is back in Coventry to work on the theatre’s 2018 offering, Sleeping Beauty.

As a student at London’s Central School of Art, Terry was awarded an Arts Council bursary through a scheme that has evolved into the Linbury Prize for stage design. The award secured him work at what was then a very different Belgrade.

He recalled, “the prize was to choose a job at one of three theatres, and the main reason I chose the Belgrade was the restaurant!

“What you have to understand is that in those days, it really was the beginning of new regional theatres, and it was so glamorous that they had a beautiful new restaurant. I remember it had pink tablecloths!”

After designing the costumes for Cinderella in 1967, Parsons worked on his first full panto the following year, Mother Goose. Since then he has been involved in a wide range of productions in the UK and overseas.

He added, “for some reason I just took to panto—I couldn’t explain why. Over the seven years I was at the Belgrade, I did the panto every year plus about another five shows.

“I wasn’t going to do another panto this year but when this offer came through I just thought it would make the 50th anniversary so much more special. To be at the same theatre as when I started is extraordinary.”

Sleeping Beauty will run at the Belgrade from Wednesday 21 November until Saturday 5 January.