Set designs

Barry Kay’s sketchbook
Samples of a series of experimental and exploratory drawings demonstrating the gradual development of the scenery for Solitaire, executed in feltpen and pastel crayon.

Glass segments: raw state



Kay – a firm believer in exploiting the entire three-dimensional stage space by placing the scenery off the ground to provide for maximum area of performing action – created a translucent tree as a central feature expanding overhead the dancing.

As the idea needed to be conveyed convincingly in the maquette, the tree was constructed from differing individually mouth-blown glass spheres assembled around a Lucite trunk. After completion, colourized paper cut-outs of photocopied antique engravings of foliage were appliquéd onto the entire tree. For use on stage, the tree was made of inflatable polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Solitaire Stage set, model scale 1:25
Tree: mouth-blown glass, specially created for this model
Trunk and branches: lucite
Foliage: paper, appliquéd vintage photo prints
Surrounds: feltpen on paper, mounted on cardboard


Barry Kay’s final set model for Solitaire, scale 1:25. To provide a fitting ambience, he arranged the tree against an eggshell-coloured backdrop, decorated with undulating lateral lines to suggest a low-lying, gently rolling landscape receding toward the horizon.

The model is preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Theatre and Performance Collection.