The Ballad of Kitty Jay | Bridewell Theatre | The MTA

Set design and costume design for The Ballad of Kitty Jay, 2013, a musical based on a Dartmoor legend of love and betrayal. The production was directed by Michael Howcroft, written by Nick Stimson, performed by The Musical Academy in London, the music composed by Annmarie Thomas and the lighting design by Tom Kingdom.


The Ballad of Kitty Jay is a heart-breaking tale of love, betrayal and redemption set against the the great and mysterious rolling moorland of wild Dartmoor in the heart of Devon. A bitter-sweet and lyrical story where the past meets the present, where the sins of the fathers are reconciled and through love find forgiveness and a future. This musical is set in the 19th century and in contemporary times, where the protagonist Kitty Jay appears as her own ghost telling her story to a young woman sitting by her grave.

Costume and Set Design Approach

Together with director Michael Howcroft Bettina John decided to set the play in a barn and use several mobile set pieces to change to the various locations ranging from a field, the land owners home, a cemetery and last but not least our contemporary world with a restaurant setting and a court room.

The centre piece, a gallow, is predicting Kitty’s tragic destiny, her suicide, throughout the play but is being used in various ways. For the court room the mobile pieces that look like fragments of an old barn turn around and provide the performers with benches to sit on and platforms to stand on. Kitty’s grave is present at all times.

Photographs taken by Evert Taihuttu |

set design and costume design musical london set design and costume design musical london set design and costume design musical london