Peter Hartwell makes his debut with Pacific Opera Victoria as designer for Verdi's Otello, a 2015/16 co-production with Opéra de Montréal. Following performances in Victoria's 1400-seat Royal Theatre, the production will move in January to the 3000-seat Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier at Montreal's Place des Arts.
Peter has designed some 30 productions for the Shaw Festival, most recently, Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures. Selected musical theatre credits at Shaw include Gypsy, Happy End, and Guys and Dolls. Among his other Shaw productions are Waste, The Entertainer, and The Crucible.
He has designed for 11 productions at the Stratford Festival, most recently the sets for the summer 2015 production of The Physicists. Other selected credits include Richard III, Medea, and The Threepenny Opera.
Peter has also designed for Victoria's Belfry Theatre, most recently for Red and The Best Brothers. He has designed for theatres across Canada, including Soulpepper, The Globe, Canadian Stage, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Neptune Theatre, Alberta Theatre Projects, and Centaur Theatre. In England he has designed for the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Joint Stock and the West End, and he co-designed Monteverdi's L'Orfeo for The English National Opera. In the U.S. his work has been seen at the New York Shakespeare Festival, Mark Taper Forum, Folger Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre and the Guthrie Theater.
He trained at Sadler's Wells Opera Theatre Design School Course in London, England under Margaret "Percy" Harris.
Much of the success for this beautiful production lies in its design. Peter Hartwell’s set perfectly captures the hermetic nature of Rothko’s studio, suggesting both the enormous size of his canvases and the alchemical nature of his mixing techniques ... Full of negative spaces and contrasting shapes, Hartwell’s set vibrates with the same kind of vital energy found in Rothko’s work.
CVV Magazine, review of Red, the Belfry Theatre, 2012
Peter Hartwell’s set is superb: a modern condo of brushed-steel, with a terrific floor-to-ceiling closet that at times resembles a modern sculpture.
Times Colonist, review of The Best Brothers, Belfry Theatre, 2015