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Teresa Przybylski is an architect and a theatre designer. She is known for her designs in theatre, opera, dance and film. Her credits include designs for National Arts Centre, Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Pacific Opera, Young Peoples Theatre, Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Canadian Stage, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Blyth Festival, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Theatre Columbus, Pleiades Theatre and others.

In the last 20 years she designed 140 productions. Large numbers of them were original Canadian productions, 41 were world premiers.

Her work in theatre was awarded with five Dora Mavor Moore Awards and several Nominations. She is a recipient of two Gemini Awards for Film and Television Production Design. She is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and Associated Designers of Canada. She teaches Theatre Design at York University.

Selected theatre projects in the years 2007-2010 include:

Crave, Sarah Kane , Nightwood Theatre, Toronto
Goodness, Michael Redhill, Volcano, New York
Lucy, Damien Atkins, The Canadian Stage Company, Toronto.

Miss Julie, Sheh’Mah, (set design) adaptation by Tara Beagan, Kick Theatre, Toronto
Wild Dogs, Anne Hardcastle, Nightwood Theatre, Toronto
The Palace of the End, Judith Thomson, The Canadian Stage Company, Toronto

That Face, Polly Stehnam, Nightwood Theatre, Toronto
Zastrozzi, George Walker , Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Stratford
Albertine in Five Times, Michel Tremblay, Shaw Festival, Niagara on the Lake
Scorched, costume design, Wajdi Mouawad, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
House of Many Tongues, Jonathan Garfinkel, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto
Shakuntala, by Kalidasa , Pleaides Theatre, Toronto

Mother Courage, Bertolt Brecht , National Arts Centre, Ottawa.

As it was already stated Teresa Przybylski was awarded many prestigious prizes. She was the recipient of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards:

1991 Outstanding Costume Design, 2nd Nature, VideoCabaret; Toronto
1993 Outstanding Set Design, Machiavelli in Love, M.C.U. Productions; Toronto
1997 Outstanding Costume Design, Le Malade Imaginaire, Moliere, Théâtre français de Toronto
2003 Outstanding Set Design, Two Words for Snow, Volcano Theatre Company; Toronto i w 2005 r., Outstanding Costume Design, Hedda Gabler, Volcano Theatre Company, Tarragon Theatre; Toronto
Also, in the years 2001 and 2003 she received awards Best Production Design in Non Dramatic Series (2001 – Don Giovanni Unmasked; Toronto, 2003 – Stormy Weather, Rhombus Media; Toronto).

If I were asked to comment I could say that already during the time of studying architecture I became interested in theatre design. I wanted to learn more about space design and combine it with the drama element which can be found in the theatre, film and opera. Three years spent at the faculty of theatre design made a huge impact on my way of thinking and designing. As a stage designer I am always trying to find the spatial elements enhancing the dramatic action in a powerful and minimalist way and allowing the audience to create their own emotional universe. The designed space has to make room for word, movement, sound and lightning. It has to consider such issues as the imagination and sensitivity of the audience as well the existing architecture of space where the performance is taking place.

One has also to mention the importance of the costume. It must have its own story and visual place in the setting not only helping the actor to find the essence of his or her part but also being linked to the space of a stage. A fascinating aspect of the costume design is to find dysfunction between the genre (drama, comedy, theatre of absurd or satire) and the final costume design.

My work often begins at the moment when the text is produced, a concept of a dramatic or opera form is developed. Such a mode of design is very important for me. Thus, I can collaborate with the most distinguished Canadian writers and directors from the very start and have an important say in the making of the performance.

For the last 10 years I have taught theatre design at the theatre faculty of the York University in Toronto. The natural curiosity of my young talented students is something I would like to retain myself as long as I work as a theatre designer and lecturer.

Teresa Przybylski
Toronto, July 2010

photo by Michael Cooper

Copyright by Konrad Glos, Rafal Zub 2010