Brian Currah was born in Plymouth in 1929. After early training as an artist at the Plymouth School of Art, he began his theatrical career in rep designing his first production at Stockton in 1951 and working as a scenic artist for the Caryl Jenner Company at Seaford in 1953.
His extensive career as a scenic and lighting designer included productions at The Belgrade Coventry, Birmingham, Perth, Southampton, Royal Lyceum Edinburgh, The Queens Hornchurch, The Lyric Belfast, Farnham, and for the Ludlow, Pitlochry and Edinburgh Festivals. He was Head of Design for the inaugural season of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, and at Leeds Playhouse, and designed the first production of Alan Plater’s Close the Coalhouse Door which played in Newcastle before transferring to The Fortune Theatre in 1968.
A string of major West End productions included The Tenth Man, The Glass Menagerie, I Never Sang for my Father, Sir Noel Coward’s last play, Suite in Three Keys (Queens, 1966), and several of Sir Harold Pinter’s earliest successes: The Caretaker (The Arts/Cambridge, 1960 – and the subsequent Broadway production at New York’s Lyceum Theatre), A Slight Ache (The Arts/Criterion 1961), The Lover and The Dwarfs (The Arts, 1963). Other West End successes included the popular farces Big Bad Mouse (Shaftesbury, 1966) which ran for three years – and Pyjama Tops (Whitehall, 1969) which enjoyed a five-year run. He also designed the Broadway production of After the Rain, which played at the Golden Theatre (1967).
Designs for television included an early Armchair Theatre production, Pictures Don’t Lie (1962)
After a period teaching design at Worthing College of Art, Brian was invited to join the faculty of the Theatre Department at the University of Alberta in Edmonton in 1979/80. He subsequently designed many productions in Canada, including Old Times, Thieves Carnival, A Streetcar Named Desire, Love For Love and The Birthday Party (for the University of Alberta), and A Flea In Her Ear, at Edmonton’s Citadel Theatre. The University conferred an Emeritus Professorship on Brian in 2001.
After his retirement from academic teaching he returned to the UK, designing productions for Clive Perry at Pitlochry, for Joan Knight at Perth and for Patrick Sandford at Southampton.
Brian first settled in Ludlow, moving later back to Cornwall, this time to Truro then, finally to Colchester in Essex. He learned to ride a motorbike in 1969 and enjoyed biking for many years. He also retained his love of the great screen musicals of the 1940s and 1950s, and became a prolific sender of postcards, much welcomed and treasured by their recipients.
Brian died in Colchester on 12th July 2008 and will always be remembered with the greatest affection for his commitment to the business, his sense of style and, perhaps most of all, his irrepressible sense of humour.
- Designer, Absurd Person Singular
- Designer, Vivat! Vivat Regina!
- Designer, A Doll’s House, Forum Theatre, Billingham and Paul Elliott and Duncan C Weldon for Triumph Theatre Productions
- Designer, Close the Coalhouse Door by Alan Plater
- Designer, After The Rain
- Designer, Big Bad Mouse
- Designer, A Song at Twilight, H M Tennent Ltd
- Designer, Suite in Three Keys by Noel Coward
- Head of Design, The Rose and the Ring , Stage Sixty Productions
- Settings designed by, Thark, Cooney Productions & Enterprises Ltd
- Designer, The Lover/The Dwarfs by Harold Pinter
- Designer/Lighting Designer, A Cheap Bunch of Nice Flowers, by Edna O’Brien
- Designer, Big Soft Nelly, by Henry Livings
- Designer, The Caretaker
- Designer, The Merchant of Venice, Belgrade Theatre Co.
- Designer, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Arts Theatre Club
- Designer, Great Expectations, Belgrade Theatre Co.
- Designer, Rookery Nook, Belgrade Theatre Co.
- Designer, The Crooked Billet, Belgrade Theatre Co.
- Designer, Reluctant Heroes, Belgrade Theatre Co.