Laurence Olivier Award-winning designer Alison Chitty has been presented with the 2008 Young Vic Award. The honour is bestowed annually on a theatre professional who has inspired younger generations of theatre artists.
Chitty, who usually sits on the panel that decides the recipient, was surprised with the presentation which was made at the launch of the Motley Theatre Design Course Exhibition. The designer received the idiosyncratic award; a pot plant with an inscribed plaque reading: “Presented annually to a theatre professional who through their life's work has inspired a younger generation of theatre people. 2008 Alison Chitty: Designer, Teacher, Visionary.”
Beginning her career at the Victoria theatre, Stoke-on-Trent, Chitty’s work spans theatre and opera, taking in companies including the National Theatre, where she was made an Associate in 2003, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Opera. She has twice won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Costume Design, in 2001 for Remembrance Of Things Past and again in 2007 for The Voysey Inheritance, both at the National.
The Voysey Inheritance was directed by regular collaborator, Peter Gill, who said of Chitty: “She is an incomparable colleague with a particular talent for advancing the careers of younger artists, not only through her work at Motley but also as evidenced by the success enjoyed by people who have worked as her assistants.”
Chitty’s work with young people includes her role as Director of Motley Theatre Design Course, a postgraduate theatre design course that has garnered an international reputation for excellence.
In addition to her stage work, Chitty has also worked on film, regularly collaborating with Mike Leigh on projects including Secrets And Lies, Life Is Sweet and Naked. In 2004 she was given the OBE.
The Young Vic Award was founded in 2003, the inaugural award going to Clare Venables for her work with directors and designers. Other winners include Elyse Dodgson, Philip Turner and Hilary Vernon-Smith. Each winner is chosen by a panel of Young Vic staff and invited guests.