Sydney Opera House

Michael Scott Mitchell



Michael Scott-Mitchell studied architecture at Sydney University before receiving a Bachelor of Dramatic Art - Design from NIDA.

His extensive credits include the set design for State Opera of South Australia’s Der Ring Des Nibelungen which opened in November 2004 after four years of development, winning the 2005 Helpmann Award for the Best Scenic Design. This work also won Helpmann Awards for the Best Opera and the Best Special Event.  In 2005 under the auspices of the Goethe Institute a major exhibition of Michael’s Ring Cycle photographs were exhibited at the Sydney Opera House. The collection of these images has now been acquired by the National Library. Other major work includes conceiving & designing the Cauldron & Ceremonial Stage for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the Cauldron, Ceremonial Stages and a number of Cultural Segments for the Opening Ceremony of the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.

Michael’s 2011/2012 designs include Boundary Street for Black Swan and Brisbane Festival, set design for the Opening Ceremony of CHOGM in Perth, and the new Musical Dr Zhivago (Greenroom Nomination for Best Set Design and APDG Highly Commended Award) directed by Des McAnuff for the Gordon Frost Organisation, which opened in Sydney and toured to Melbourne,  Brisbane and Korea.

In 2013 his designs include set and costumes for Storm Boy for Barking Gecko Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company and sets for a new production of Tosca for Opera Australia.

Other recent designs include the IAAF World Indoor Athletics Championships, Doha andHonour, Travesties and Elling for Sydney Theatre Company and Long Day’s Journey into Night for Sydney Theatre Company in Sydney and in Portland in the United States. La Fanciulla del West (APDG Award for Design on a Theatre Production 2011) for Opera Conference, mounted by State Opera of South Australia and West Australian Opera, Opera Australia (Sydney) and Opera Queensland, FIFA World Congress 2008, staged in the Concert Hall of the Sydney Opera House, Don Giovanni for Opera Australia, and World Youth Day - Stations of the Cross, which was broadcast internationally in July 2008.

Other major work includes production design of the Opening Ceremony for CHOGM 2002 and the smash hit musical Shout! for Jacobsen Entertainment. He has worked extensively in opera designing Andrea Chénier for Opera Conference, Opera Australia’s L’Elisir d’Amore (Green Room Award for best Opera Design), Rinaldo (Green Room Nomination for Best Opera Design), Tannhäuser (Green Room Nomination for Best Opera Design) and The Puccini Spectacular.  For Opera Queensland, State Opera of South Australia & WA Opera, he designed Il Trovatore (Adelaide Critics Award & an inaugural Helpmann award nomination for Best Opera Design).

For the Sydney Theatre Company he has designed over twenty-eight productions including Ying Tong (Sydney Theatre Award nomination & Green Room Award), Macbeth, Amigos, Major Barbara, A Delicate Balance, Life of Galileo, As You Like It, Les Parents Terribles (Chief Glugg’s Award), Dead Funny and The Trackers of Oxyrhyncus. He was Bell Shakespeare Company’s inaugural designer & has designed ten productions for them, including Troilus & Cressida, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Merchant of Venice. For the State Theatre Company of South Australia he designed A Hard God, Tales from the Arabian Nights & Solstice. Michael has also designed for the MTC, Tempest (Green Room Nomination for Best Theatre Design) & The Unexpected Man, QTC, Gift of the Gorgon, Navigating, Long Day’s Journey Into Night & the Tempest and Belvoir Street Theatre, Diving for Pearls, Cockroach Opera & The Unexpected Man as well as Harry M. Miller’s arena & theatrical productions of Jesus Christ Superstar. 

He was a founding director of the architectural firm D4DESIGN formed in 1987 with partners Bill MacMahon & Stephen Roberts, the company took on a wide range of design briefs, amongst the most notable, the design for the multi award winning Rockpool Restaurant in Sydney’s Rocks & Regents Court Hotel. He recently refurbished Rockpool with another original D4 partner, Bill MacMahon.

Michael has lectured in Theatre Design at UTS and NIDA & has taught Interior Architecture at The University of NSW. He is currently Head of Design and Director, Undergraduate Studies at NIDA.


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