When we experience so much through screens, it has become a truism to stress the value of the live event. The thrill of ‘being there’ becomes ever sharper the more we rely on other media. Stage designer Es Devlin has created some of the most memorable live experiences of recent times, whether in small theatres or huge arenas.
She has designed stadium tours for Kanye West, Adele, Beyoncé, Jay Z and U2 and shows and exhibitions for Louis Vuitton since 2014. Many readers will be familiar with her work on the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, which has led to her collaborating with Fernando Meirelles on the concept for the Opening Ceremony of Rio 2016 while, in our July 2015 issue we showcased some of her work for the Headlong theatre company (whose artistic director Jeremy Herrin is also one of our Creative Leaders 50).
Indeed, theatre, opera and dance is where Devlin has done some of her most exciting work. She has conceived environments for the National Theatre, Complicite, the Royal Court, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, Royal Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, The Met, the Vienna Staatsopera and La Scala, winning three Olivier Awards, two Critics Circle Awards, an Evening Standard Award and the Linbury Prize for stage design. She was made OBE in 2015. She embodies what Creative Leaders is all about – pushing the boundaries of her chosen field and inspiring others to do the same.
Es Devlin portrait by Jasper Clarke