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, A Bit Between the Teeth, John Gale and Ray Cooney
- Setting and Lighting, Pyjama Tops, Paul Raymond
- Designer, A Bit Between the Teeth, Brian Rix Enterprises
- Setting by, Pyjama Tops, Paul Raymond
- Designer, The Letter, Watford Civic Theatre Trust
- Designer, Night Watch, Ray Cooney Productions Ltd
- Designer, Vivat! Vivat Regina!
- Designer, A Doll’s House, Forum Theatre Billingham and Paul Elliott and Duncan C Weldon for Triumph Theatre Productions
- Designer, Simon Says…, Leeds Playhouse Company
- Designer, Henry IV, Leeds Playhouse Company
- Designer, I Never Sang for My Father, Julie C Daugherty and Marvin Liebman
- Designer, Man with a Load of Mischief, Sherwood and Reid Ltd
- Setting and Lighting, It’s All in the Mind, Hampstead Theatre Club
- Set and Lighting designed by, Dear Charles, John Gale for Volcano Productions Ltd and Talus Productions Ltd
- Designer, Close the Coalhouse Door
- Designer, After the Rain
- Decor, Horizontal Hold, H M Tennent Ltd and John Counsell Ltd
- Designer, The Sacred Flame
- Designer, Big Bad Mouse
- Designer, A Song at Twilight, H M Tennent Ltd
- Designer, Suite in Three Keys
- Head of Design, The Rose and the Ring , Stage Sixty Productions
- Designer, The Glass Menagerie, Tennent Productions Ltd and Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
- 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
- Designer, The Caretaker
- Designer, Big Soft Nellie
- Designer, Big Soft Nellie, Prospect Productions Ltd
- Designer & Lighting, Stop It, Whoever You Are
- Designer & Lighting, Lunch Hour
- Designer & Lighting, A Slight Ache
- Decor, Naked Island, David Hall, in association with the Arts Theatre Club
- Setting and Lighting, The Caretaker, David Hall and Michael Codron
- Designer, The Merchant of Venice, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Arts Theatre Club
- Designer, Great Expectations, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Setting by, The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi, Arts Theatre Club
- Designer, Rookery Nook, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, The Crooked Billet, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, Nothing to Declare, Jack Minster
- Designer, Reluctant Heroes, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, Arsenic and Old Lace, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, Bridge of Sighs, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, Julius Caesar, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, A Touch of the Sun, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, Out of the Frying Pan, Belgrade Theatre Company
- Designer, A Christmas Carol , Belgrade Theatre Company
- Date of birth:
- Brian on his morotbike by Firmin, Public domain due to age