Barry Kay, internationally acclaimed stage and costume designer, photographer, born 1932 Melbourne Australia, died 1985 London England




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Barry Kay – Posthumous Events – 1985 et seq


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   1985 et seq
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back to 1976-1985




April 19
Barry Kay's funeral – on this day, he should have been in New York to oversee the works for the staging of Kenneth MacMillan's Anastasia1 [6.1], one-act version, for American Ballet Theatre (ABT), and to stay on for its first night at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York City.

April 22
Subsequent to MacMillan and ABT accepting Michael Werner's offer to supervise the mounting of Anastasia1, it is arranged to fly him, together with Kay's assistant Daro Montag, to New York to complete Kay's work.

April 24 - 30
In New York, Werner, assisted by Montag, attends setting up the scenery and the refitting of costumes for the staging of Anastasia1.

April 25
In recognition of Barry Kay's contributions to the performing arts, Michael Werner, while in New York, is founding the Barry Kay Archive with the intention of preserving and encouraging awareness and appreciation of his work.

April 30
First night of Anastasia1; one-act version; ballet; assignment scenery, costumes, properties and special effects; period newsreel projections; realization Werner; choreography MacMillan; American Ballet Theatre; Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center, New York. – The performance is dedicated to Barry Kay; John Taras, ABT's associate director, steps before the curtain making the announcement. [6.2]

May 10 - June 14
A selection of Barry Kay's designs for the theatre is shown at "Art and the Theatre in Victoria, 1844-1984", a touring exhibition of public regional galleries of Victoria, Australia. On display are works from the galleries' holdings of theatre art – a contribution to Victoria's 150th Anniversary Celebrations; organized by Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre and Horsham Art Gallery; venue Horsham Art Gallery, Horsham. The exhibition first opened at the Mornington Peninsula Arts Centre on November 30, 1984 [ibid], and continues to tour other Victorian regional galleries throughout 1985.

June 6
The Royal Opera House (ROH) approaches the Barry Kay Archive, relaying that shortly before Kay died MacMillan talked to him about having agreed to mount the one-act version of Anastasia1 for The Royal Ballet (RB) in May 1986. The ROH proposes to Werner to reconstruct the set model, scale 1:25, based on a white model, scale 1:50, kept at the Archive, and to supervise the making of the full-scale scenery – while the already existing costumes of the RB's three-act production are to be used.

October 22 - December 31
Cost-conscious, the ROH abandons building new scenery for Anastasia1 and instead intends to loan or purchase the set from Ballet Theatre Foundation Inc, ABT's legal entity, and to restore it to the repertory of the RB. In consequence, the ROH is seeking to acquire from Werner and the Archive the rights [6.3] to use Kay's scenery and costumes, and requests him to realize their staging at Covent Garden. Meetings and negotiations commence, extending into the next year.

To keep the itemized biography as compact as possible, it is confined to only chronicling production opening nights of their inaugural seasons. Hence, first nights at later performance seasons are almost never listed.

As an exception to this, and as an indication as to which previously premièred productions were shown after Kay's death, the posthumous records include one more entry per each production and its first night performance. Any further entries to this end would exceed the purpose and scope of the itemized biography – completely new presentations exempted.

Suffice it therefore to note that particularly Raymonda Act III (The Royal Ballet, 1966) and Don QuixoteA (The Australian Ballet, 1970) have been audiences' favourites of long standing – last but not least, due to Barry Kay's designs. Both productions have enjoyed phenomenally long runs and continue to remain in the repertory of the respective companies well beyond his death.

In 2008, a contributor to postings testified thus: "Raymonda Act III is like the ultimate box of chocolates – you open the lid and are immediately bedazzled by the glorious set and costumes."



January 1 - March 17
Negotiations and discussions relating to Anastasia1 continue between the ROH and the Archive. By March 17, a licence agreement and a service contract are successfully concluded.

May 8
Première of Anastasia1; one-act version; ballet; assignment scenery, costumes, properties and special effects; period newsreel projections; realization Werner; choreography MacMillan; The Royal Ballet; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. The performance is dedicated to the memory of Barry Kay.



Month [?] / Day[?]
Barry Kay's sister, Shirley Danglow, establishes the 'Barry Kay Memorial Scholarship Fund' to support the advancement of young talents in their studies of scenery and costume designs. Operational under the aegis of The Australian Ballet Endowment, the Scholarship Fund is administered by the Australian Ballet in collaboration with the Victorian State Opera. The inaugural Scholarship is designated to be awarded in 1989.



entry to follow



Month [?] / Day[?]
A theatrical set design by Barry Kay, entitled "Badinage" and created in 1956, is donated to the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; donator The Art Foundation of Victoria, from the Bequest of Violet Dulieu, founder benefactor, 1997.

October 16 - November 2
On the occasion of the 1997 Melbourne International Arts Festival, Westpac Gallery in conjunction with Clifford Hocking AM, Artistic Director of the Festival, stages an exhibition entitled "Barry Kay: A Tribute (1932-1985)"; venue the Victorian Arts Centre (in 2003 renamed Arts Centre), Melbourne; solo exhibition, attendance figures 20447.



December 29
The Barry Kay Archive makes its internet début with a continuously expanding electronic publication, entirely devoted to Barry Kay and his artistic legacy.



October 11 - January 6, 2007
As part of the International Celebration of Kenneth MacMillan, the exhibition "Kenneth MacMillan – The Outsider" opens at the London Theatre Museum [6.4], Covent Garden. On show are designs – including those by Kay – photographs and costumes of the Museum's extensive collections to demonstrate how Macmillan's innovative work is expressed through a sui generis blend of choreography, design and music.



To further the mutual exchange of information about Barry Kay with theatre professionals and institutions associated with the performing arts wordwide, and to consolidate and promote his artistic achievements, the Barry Kay Archive becomes an institutional member of SIBMAS – Société Internationale des Bibliothèques et des Musées des Arts du Spectacle / International Association of Libraries and Museums of the Performing Arts.

November 16
The National Register of Archives, containing information on the nature and location of manuscripts and historical records that relate to British history, indexes the Barry Kay Archive and includes it in the ARCHON Directory (ARCHives ONline) of record repositories in the United Kingdom.

December 7
The Peter Darrell Trust, Glasgow, links up with the Barry Kay Archive. In doing so, the Trust acknowledges the reciprocally fruitful working relationship that had evolved between Peter Darrell, co-founder of Western Theatre Ballet, and Barry Kay. After the latter had settled in London in 1956, his first commission to design a ballet, The Prisoners, he received from Darrel, followed by many more of Darrell's design assignments.




Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo's distinguished Japanese couture house, invites the Barry Kay Archive to participate with designs by Kay [6.5] for the mailer of their 2005 spring collection. The collaboration results in the publication of one image each of his maquettes for two ballets – Les Quatre Saisons and Solitaire. Printed in Japan on semi-translucent parchment in poster format and elegantly packaged, these images are to accompany promotional material to be distributed to a selected international clientele in the USA, Japan, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and Eastern Europe.

June 11 – September 26
The National Gallery of Australia (NGA), Parkes / Canberra, ACT, in partnership with Australian Theatre for Young People, holds an exhibition entitled "Stage Fright: The Art of Theatre". Showcasing designs and costumes by artists represented at the Gallery’s collection of Australian Theatre Arts, the exhibition also includes works by Barry Kay. It will tour four Australian locations in 2007. [ibid]

October - July 2006
Barry Kay's designs feature in the exhibition "Design for Dance", mounted by the Royal Opera House Collections at the Royal Opera House, London, displaying outstanding stage designs for The Royal Ballet in celebration of its 75th anniversary.

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Barry Kay's studio and residence at Hertford Street, Shepherd's Market, Mayfair, City of Westminster, London, 1956-1968; Barry Kay, stage & costume designer, photographer; designs for ballet, drama, opera and film for international performing companies at opera houses and theatres.

Barry Kay's studio and residence at Rutland Gate, Knightsbridge, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, 1968-1969; Barry Kay, stage & costume designer, photographer; designs for ballet, drama, opera and film for international performing companies at opera houses and theatres.

Barry Kay's studio and residence at Brunswick Gardens, Notting Hill, Kensington, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, 1969-1983; Barry Kay, stage & costume designer, photographer; designs for ballet, drama, opera and film for international performing companies at opera houses and theatres.

Barry Kay's studio and residence at Moorehouse Road, Notting Hill, Bayswater, Paddington, City of Westminster, London, 1983-1985; seat of the Barry Kay Archive since 1985; Barry Kay, stage & costume designer, photographer; designs for ballet, drama, opera and film for international performing companies at opera houses and theatres.


Barry Kay's London studios
Mayfair, 1956-1968

Knightsbridge, 1968-1969

Kensington, 1969-1983

Notting Hill, 1983-1985

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November 23
The National Library of Australia, Canberra, ACT, identifies the Barry Kay Archive as "heritage of national significance with long-term research value". As a result, the Archive's electronic publication is retained and re-archived periodically at the Library's database of PANDORA (Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia), Australia's Web Archive, to provide independent public access to it in perpetuity. – As an Australian-born artist, Australia regards Barry Kay an "important and influential designer for the theatre" [sic Dr Robert Bell, NGA, Senior Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, Australian Theatre Arts].




Following the request by the Archives of Wesley College, Melbourne, Australia, interested in alumni who have made a name for themselves, the Barry Kay Archive furnishes information related to Kay's career for an article about him in their Community Magazine and due to be published next year. Kay attended Wesley College [ibid] from 1942 to 1948.

February 9 - October 28
The exhibition "Stage Fright: The Art of Theatre", launched by the NGA in 2005 [ibid] and incorporating drawings by Barry Kay, is touring four Australian locations: The Academy Gallery, University of Tasmania, Launceston, TAS, February 9 - April 1 / Walter Nicholls Memorial Gallery, Port Lincoln, SA, May 5 - June 3 / Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery, Port Pirie, SA, June 15 - July 29 / Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, Booragul, NSW, September 14 - October 28.

February 22 - April 21
The Australian Ballet, in conjunction with the Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC), stages an exhibition "Memories in Motion" to commemorate over forty years of The Australian Ballet in Brisbane. The exhibition, coinciding with the Company's 2007 Queensland performance season and the showing of Don QuixoteA, features superb costumes from past productions, performance photographs and audio-visual presentations, including Kay's designs and original costumes for the movie version of Don QuixoteF; venues Tony Gould Gallery & QPAC foyers.

November 30
Live Performance Australia, the peak body for Australia's live entertainment and performing arts industry, commemorates Barry Kay as one of one hundred inductees, eighty of them theatre artists, in its newly established virtual Hall of Fame. It is Live Performance Australia's way of paying tribute to a remarkable collection of people on the occasion of celebrating its 90th anniversary. [6.6]




March 7
At the request of the Swiss boarding school, Ecole Internationale de Genève, where Barry Kay received his initial education [ibid] in the late 1930s, the Archive furnishes biographic and image material related to him and his work. The School intends to publish a short article about Kay's career in its 3rd edition of "Echo Magazine" in the autumn of this year.

Publication of an article entitled "Barry Kay and the beginning of a dramatic tradition"; The Wesley College Community Magazine, "Lion", Edition 103, April 2008.

July - September
The Barry Kay Archive intermittently liaises with Deborah MacMillan, widow of Kenneth MacMillan, in regard to costume designs by Barry Kay for Kenneth's original two-act Isadora (1981). Deborah, who is in the process of producing a condensed one-act version of the ballet, intended as a new production for the Royal Ballet in 2009, requests the Archive to assist in researching its repository for costume drawings, as some of the costumes need to be reconstructed. The Archive provides the necessary material and, in January 2009, Deborah views the Isadora portfolios for additional references.



January 14
Martine Kahane, Director of the Centre National du Costume de Scène (CNCS) [6.7] in Moulins, France, contacts the Archive with a view to present in its forthcoming exhibition – "Rudolf Noureev 1938-1993" – some of Barry Kay's works created for Nureyev and his ballets.

January 31
CNCS' Deputy Director, Delphine Pinasa, pays the Archive a visit to view the design material related to Nureyev. She later communicates: "I was very surprised to find out about the Barry Kay Archive's most interesting collection and its vast volume. All this represents an enormous tribute to the history of the performing arts."

February 3 - April 10
C International Photo Magazine, London & Madrid, approaches the Barry Kay Archive, wishing to include in its September 2009 issue a selection of images from Barry Kay's photographic socio-anthropological documentary As a Woman / The Other Women / Die anderen Frauen. Following assurance of the Archive's full cooperation, the Editors reply: "We are very excited about publishing a portfolio of Barry Kay's work." [6.8]

March 3
Janine Barrand, Director of the Arts Centre Melbourne [6.9], responsible for Collections, Research & Exhibitions, visits the Barry Kay Archive to view some of its design contents and to have a dialogue concerning archival matters. Issues of discussion include mutual cooperation, the feasibility of an exhibition of works by Kay to commemorate the 25th anniversary of his death in 2010, setting up a reciprocal web link exchange and the future of the Archive.

March 11
World première of Isadora; ballet; a newly devised, condensed one-act version of the original 1981 two-act production; assignment costumes and properties [6.10]; choreography Kenneth MacMillan; production Deborah MacMillan; leading role Tamara Rojo; The Royal Ballet; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.

May 9 - November 11
Mixed exhibition "Rudolf Noureev 1938-1993"; Centre national du costume de scène et de la scénographie (CNCS); occasion - celebration of the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation having donated the CNCS a prestigious, multifaceted collection of objects, once the property of Nureyev. On display are costume drawings as well as original stage costumes, including those Barry Kay created for Nureyev in the role of Basilio in Don Quixote; CNCS, Quartier Villars, Moulins sur Allier, France.

May 26
In acknowledgment of Barry Kay's work for Rudolf Nureyev and his productions the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation, Paris, links up with the Barry Kay Archive.

September 1
Publication of a portfolio of ten photographic portraits from Barry Kay's socio-anthropological documentary As a Woman / The Other Women / Die anderen Frauen, created during the years 1974-75; C International Photo Magazine, Edition 9, English/Chinese & Spanish/Japanese, hardback, September 2009; Ivorypress, London & Madrid; English/Chinese editon ISSN: 1748/3536, ISBN: 9780955961335.



About Us
> Abstract
> 1932-1955
> 1956-1965
> 1966-1975
> 1976-1985
   1985 et seq
Design Opus
Photography Opus
Notes & Texts
Ex Operibus
Archive Plaza
Site Map


March 23
A Zika Ascher silk scarf, designed by Barry Kay between 1951 and 1953, features in the newly published and comprehensively illustrated book of "Scarves"; co-authors: Nicky Albrechtsen, Fola Solanka; publisher: Thames & Hudson, London - New York; ISBN-13: 978-0-500-51564-8. [6.11]

October 21
Release of the publication "Luminous - Celebrating 50 years of The Australian Ballet", 1962-2012. The lavishly illustrated, 360-page-strong book features ballet scenes of Don Quixote designed by Barry Kay. Publisher: The Australian Ballet; ISBN: 978-0-646-55293-4.



January 19
Barry Kay's photographic documentary The Other Women, along with works by eight other photographers [6.12], is chosen as a subject for a seminar and discussion, entitled "Intimate vs Private", taking place under the umbrella of "picbod" (picturing the body), a BA (Hons) Photography second year undergraduate class at the Coventry University, UK. The course’s core tenet is the development of a sustainable practice for students, key to which is the investigation of contemporary photographic practices and their implications for the medium as a whole. To this end, The Other Women and Carnival Strippers, by the American documentary photographer Susan Meiselas, are juxtaposed to one another.

March 23 - April 3
As part of its 2012 season, the >San Francisco Ballet is presenting Rudolf Nureyev's Raymonda, Act III. The company stages its own production with original costumes and set designed by Barry Kay in 1966 and hired from The Royal Ballet; venue War Memorial Opera House, San Francisco; seven performances.

October 6 - February 17, 2013
Mixed exhibition "Rudolf Nureyev: A Life in Dance"; organized in collaboration with the Centre national du costume de Scène (CNCS), Moulins, France, and the de Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco; occasion: the 20th anniversary of Rudolf Nureyev’s death; displayed works by Barry Kay include costume drawings and actual stage costumes designed for and worn by Nureyev in Don Quixote; venue de Young Museum.



July 25 - 27
To mark the 75th anniversary of Rudolf Nurevey’s birth and the 20th anniversary of his death, the English National Ballet is staging Raymonda, Act III, as part of "A tribute to Rudolf Nureyev"; the scenery and costumes, designed by Barry Kay in 1966, are on loan from The Royal Ballet; venue London Coliseum; five performaances.

October 17 - 18
Upon special invitation by the CNCS [ibid], the Barry Kay Archive is represented at the inauguration of the permanent display dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev. As a memento of the professionally fruitful Kay-Nureyev collaboration, the Archive presents Delphine Pinasa, since 2011 Director of the CNCS, a set of three sketches by Kay depicting variations of a costume design for Nureyev as Basilio in Don Quixote.



February 27 - 28
The Sarasota Ballet, Florida, presents Rudolf Nurevey’s production of Raymonda, Act III, featuring Barry Kay's scenery and costumes, initially conceived in 1966 and hired from The Royal Ballet; venue Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; three performances.



back to beginning of Biography – Abstract & Summaries



Key to superscripted numbers and letters:
Anastasia: 1 = one-act, 3 = three-act stage versions.
Don Quixote: A = Adelaide, M = Marseille, P = Melbourne projected, V = Vienna stage versions; F = Film version. back to text


Review of Anastasia, one-act version, by Anna Kisselgoff, The New York Times. back to text


Upon Barry Kay's death, the then founder-to-be of the Barry Kay Archive, Michael Werner, became the legal heir of Kay's artistic estate, including the copyright to his designs, photographic creations and all other intellectual property. back to text


The London Theatre Museum, a short-lived, independently operating offshoot from the Victoria & Albert Museum and Britain's only performing arts museum established with theatre-related materials from the V&A in 1987, is defunct with effect of 7 January 2007. Its collections are now reintegrated into the V&A Theatre Collections. back to text


Comme des Garçons had already earmarked designs by Ralph Koltai to accentuate their promotional material. Yet, at the last minute, they came across the website of the Barry Kay Archive, saw the extensive design display and concluded that Barry Kay's set models superiorly suited their purpose. back to text


Frank van Straten OAM, theatre historian and former first director of the Victorian Arts Centre's Performing Arts Museum in Melbourne, provides a short biography on each artist, constituting the corner stone of the Hall of Fame. back to text


The CNCS, located in the Auvergne, was founded by the French Ministry of Culture and Communications and opened in 2006. It is the largest museum of costume designs for the performing arts in France. Occupying an impressive late 18th century barracks, appropriated by the French government, it houses material and collections bequeathed to it by la Bibliothèque Nationale de France, l'Opéra National de Paris and la Comédie-Française. The Rudolf Nureyev Foundation donated to the CNCS a notable collection of documents and objects that once belonged to Nureyev. back to text


C International Photo Magazine is considered the world's most exquisite publication of contemporary photography, "aiming to promote debate and creativity [...] unlimited by cultural, geographical or thematic boundaries". It was created by Elena Ochoa Foster, founder of Ivorypress, and is published twice yearly. As a hardback cover publication of 300 pages, it is presented in two different editions – English/Chinese and Spanish/Japanese – and is available by subscription and at selected book stores worldwide. back to text


The Arts Centre was established in 1982 with the objective of pursuing its vision and plans as a leading international performing arts centre. back to text


Kenneth MacMillan's full-length Isadora, premièred at the Royal Opera House in 1981, was not well received and soon dropped from the repertoire. As Monica Mason, the current artistic director of The Royal Ballet, felt that the ballet deserved another chance, Deborah MacMillan, the choreographer's widow, devised a shortened version in a plain stage setting. Subsequently, the sets designed by Barry Kay were abandoned with only a selection of his costumes and properties presented in this new production. – In his review in the Financial Times, Gerald Dowler comments: "A black box serves as set with a minimum of props but many of Barry Kay's original costumes are stunningly recreated." back to text


Between 1946 and 1955, Zika Ascher, Britain's preeminent maker of innovative textiles based on contemporary art, commissioned fifty-one leading French and English artists, among them Barry Kay, to design scarves for the limited editions of the "Artists' Squares" project. The book states that Barry Kay's scarf design dates from 1947. As he was attending Wesley College, a Melbourne high school, from 1942 to 1948, the Archive believes that Kay created his scarf while studying at the Académie Julian in Paris between 1951 and 1953. back to text


Diane Arbus (USA) "diane arbus" and "Revelations", Richard Avedon (USA) "The Sixties", Elinor Carucci (Israel) "Closer", Larry Clark (USA) "Perfect Childhood" and "Tulsa", Nan Goldin (USA) "I'll Be Your Mirror" and "Ballad of Sexual Dependency", David Hilliard (USA) "Photographs", Barry Kay (Australia) "The Other Women", Sally Mann (USA) "Immediate Family", Susan Meiselas (USA) "Carnival Strippers". back to text

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back to Biography Barry Kay, 1966-1975 --- back to page top of Biography Barry Kay, 1976-1986 --- back to Biography Barry Kay, Abstract and Summaries ------ end of BIOGRAPHY cycle – back to Biography – Abstract & Summaries

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