Studied Fine Art at Hornsey College of Art in the early 60s and subsequently theatre design at the Central School of Arts and Crafts under Ralph Koltai.
He is an Associate Designer of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Notable productions for the RSC include Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Once in a Lifetime, The Greeks, Nicholas Nickleby, Hedda Gabler, Peter Pan and Mother Courage. His work at the Royal Court includes Disconnected, Lear, Big Wolf and Cancer. His productions for the Royal National Theatre include The Party (Olivier’s last performance at the Old Vic), Equus, later seen worldwide, Trelawny of the ‘Wells’, An Enemy of the People, Peter Pan, Candide and South Pacific.
John Napier’s designs for opera include Lohengrin and Macbeth for the Royal Opera Covent Garden, DON GIOVANNI (WNO), Idomeneo for Glyndebourne, The Devils for ENO and Nabucco for the Metropolitan Opera.
In the musical theatre, he designed Cats, Starlight Express, Les Misérables, Miss Saigon and Sunset Boulevard. These productions have been presented on Broadway and around the world. Other designs for the West End include Time, Children of Eden and Jesus Christ Superstar. John designed the Captain EO video starring Michael Jackson for Disney. He created and co-directed the spectacular Siegfried & Roy Show at the Mirage in Las Vegas, followed by Steven Spielberg’s film Hook.
Other designs include BIRDSONG (West End), Burning Blue at the Haymarket (1996 Olivier Award for Best Set Design), The Tower and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (both at the Almeida), Martin Guerre (West Yorkshire Playhouse and tour), the musical version of Jane Eyre on Broadway, Skellig at the Young Vic, Aladdin at the Old Vic, and the 2007 production of Equus.
John Napier’s design awards include two Society of West End Theatre awards, an Olivier, a BAFTA, and five Tony Awards for Nicholas Nickleby, Cats, Starlight Express, Les Misérables and Sunset Boulevard. Mr. Napier is a member of the American Academy of Achievement, was elected Royal Designer for Industry in 1996 and is an Honorary Fellow of the London Institute