Bettina John is an international and award-winning freelance set and costume designer and artist. She has worked with a wide range of theatres, theatre makers, artists, dance artists, choreographers, musicians, acrobats, circus performers and actors.
She studied fashion and photography in Germany, then did her masters degree in new media art at Goldsmiths University in London and completed a second master degree in Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art in 2018. She had assisted fashion designers and worked in photography studios before she started to shift her focus on designing for the performing arts in 2010. This varied background makes her approach to design and art uniquely interdisciplinary and boundary-pushing.
Bettina John worked with a wide range of exciting choreographers at the start of her career before focussing on opera and theatre. She collaborated with dance artists and coreographers such as Arthur Pita, Ben Duke (Lost Dog), Tony Adigun (AvantGarde Dance), Tom Roden (New Art Club), Hagit Yakira and Shane Shombu (Complicité). Since 2018 she has worked with exciting new voices such as Julia Burbach, Greg Eldridge, Lysanne van Overbeek and Franciska Éry on opera productions including works such as The Ring Cycle, Manon Lescaut, Onegin, The Barber of Seville and Orfeo by Gluck, amongst others.
She has been commissioned to write a book on costume design, which has been published by Crowood Press in 2021.
Bettina John’s design approach lends itself to an experimental and innovative approach to design which is why she is regularly asked to develop designs for unconventional shows where she draws inspiration from fashion, painting, textile art, graphic design and the study of human behaviour. Her designs are heavily informed by her art practice. With funding from the German arts council she went on an art residency in 2012 to stay and work at the ISCP in New York and in 2013 in Rio De Janeiro. That allowed her to develop and further her own art practice which can be placed mainly within the performing art scene as a performance- and installation artist herself. This has led to several exhibitions and scholarships in London, New York, Rio De Janeiro, Berlin and her hometown Halle.