Set designer John Verryt shows Viva a few of his favourite treasures.
As set designer for shows across theatre, opera and dance, John Verryt is largely responsible for the look of a performance. His extensive bio includes several works with the NBR New Zealand Opera, dance designs for Black Grace Dance Company, Michael Parmenter Dance Company and more, and sets for theatre performances from Death of a Salesman to Badjelly the Witch. He also contributed to The Millennium Show at the Auckland Domain and Louis Vuitton's America's Cup Party. Now he is lending his expert eye to three shows at the Auckland Arts Festival, including Paper Sky: A Love Story for Red Leap Theatre, the new Douglas Wright dance work rapt, and Xerxes for NBR NZ Opera - which also features costumes by designer Trelise Cooper. Verryt tells us about some of his favourite things.
10 FAVOURITE THINGS
1. Drawing board
I still do my drawings on this board, which is like an extension of me. It's old-school, but the reason I like it is because I can have my ground plan, my side elevation, and my front elevation all visible at the same time; as opposed to a computer screen which only shows a small portion at once. This particular one is probably 20 years old, but I've had other drawing boards before that.
2. Crown Lynn bowl
This is a bowl that costume designer Victoria Ingram gave me, a classic Crown Lynn bowl. Just a perfect shape.
3. Black Dr Martens
I've had Docs on my feet for the last 40 years almost exclusively, except for sandals in the summer. Eventually they get a bit munted so they become gardening Docs, and I buy a new pair. I've always got three on the go - they are foot heaven.
He was a prototype for a production of Badjelly the Witch at the Silo about eight years ago, when it was housed in what's now The Basement. I do a lot of work with the Silo and Dingle-mouse reminds me of them. He is ridiculous and charming.
5. Gold-flecked painting
This isn't really a painting, but a sample I made for Theatre at Large's production Gold. I wanted to make costumes out of canvas and paint them so I painted this as one of the samples. It hangs in my hall as an art work. I ended up making the costumes for Gold that way and went on to do other costumes with painted fabric; it's a process I like.
6. My guitar
A simple guitar that I play every day.
7. Don Quixote
An old book I've carried around for years; a copy of Don Quixote de la Mancha, which is a really amazing story that I really like. It's a really old edition, printed in Edinburgh, complete with engravings. I can't remember where I got it, but it's followed me around for years.
8. Re-curved bow
I shoot at the Auckland Archery club in Cornwall Park - target shooting, I'm not interested in shooting animals. This is a composite bow - it comes in a case, with a set of carbon fibre arrows, and you assemble it on site. I enjoy the meditation of shooting at a target.
9. Tibetan figurine
I found this little Tibetan guy in the garden - he was sitting on top of something that was either a lid or a bowl, and I quite like him. I moved him inside and now he sits here looking calm and happy.
10. The garden
I like to garden and particularly like the sculptural shape of succulents. My garden is north-facing and backs on to a golf course, with a creek running past it. It's a really nice spot and I've been clearing and planting since I moved in - eventually the weeds will lose the battle.