The Jocelyn Herbert Award

The Jocelyn Herbert Award is presented biennially on the prize-giving evening for The Linbury Prize for Stage Design. This year marks the sixth occasion on which it is being awarded.

This year’s invited judge alongside Jocelyn’s family is acclaimed designer Alison Chitty.

The judges look for an individual imagination able to produce a fresh but focused interpretation, and for a candidate who would use the prize money to further his or her knowledge of working in the theatre.

Jocelyn trained at the Slade and at the London Theatre Studio before the Second World War and from the 1950s until the 1970s was the key designer for the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre, working on world premieres of plays which went on to be considered twentieth century classics. Her designs defined the first productions of plays by Arnold Wesker, John Osborne, David Storey and Samuel Beckett.  She forged close working relationships in theatre and film with directors as diverse as Tony Richardson, Lindsay Anderson and John Dexter. Jocelyn’s last decades were enriched by a unique working partnership with the poet and playwright Tony Harrison, with whom she was developing a new production on the day that she died in May 2003.

‘For me, there seems no right way to design a play, only, perhaps, a right approach. One of respecting the text, past or present, and not using it as a peg to advertise your skills, whatever they may be, nor to work out your psychological hang-ups with some fashionable gimmick.’
Jocelyn Herbert 1917 – 2003

Jocelyn Herbert

Chloe Quinn with Jocelyn Herbert's daughters credit Sheila Burent
Chloe Quinn with Jocelyn Herbert's daughters
(photo by Sheila Burent)