Das Rheingold | Wagner | Arcola | Julia Burbach

The Rhine gold (Das Rheingold) , guarded by three nymphs, holds immeasurable power. When the dwarf Alberich renounces love to steal it, he unwittingly sparks a battle for domination which will stretch from the depths of the river to the mountaintop home of the gods.
Jonathan Dove‘s acclaimed Rheingold orchestration is performed in London for the first time since its premiere in the 1990s, with 18 live musicians from the Orpheus Sinfonia and an exceptional cast of singers, many of whom are giving role debuts.

A key to any performance of the Ring is the director’s conception of who these people are, is this straight story telling about Germanic/Norse gods, a take down of capitalism or what? Bettina John’s imaginative set linked the balcony to the main playing area by a staircase made of ‘cardboard boxes’, with elements of the Ring’s iconography drawn on them, and on the floor. This meant that the work opened with what should have been the climax, the vision of the newly created Valhalla (drawn onto boxes piled high on the balcony). The idea of creating it out of the detritus around us, seemed to be central; Burbach’s programme note says ‘the story is triggered by a man stepping into a space that looks like something one might find in a Dalston back alley’. ” (Rober Hugill)

Adapted by Graham Vick and Jonathan Dove
Orchestrated by Jonathan Dove
Director Julia Burbach
Set and Costume Design by Bettina John
Music Director Peter Selwyn
Robert Price
Lighting Designer

Paul Carey Jones – Wotan
Claire Barnett-Jones – Fricka / Wellgunde
Gareth Brynmor John – Donner
Seth Carico – Alberich
Kiandra Howarth – Freia/Woglinde
Angharad Lyddon – Flosshilde
Philip Sheffield – Loge
Andrew Tipple – Fasolt
Marianne Vidal – Fricka/ Wellgunde
Harriet Williams – Erda
Dingle Yandell – Fafner

Harriet Williams as Erda here incognito
Dingle Yandell as Fafner admiring the ring, surrounded by the hoard
Marianne Vidal as Fricka and Paul Carey Jones as Wotan
Seth Carico as Alberich and Philip Sheffield as Loge
Gareth Brynmor John as Donner
Photo by Lidia Crisafulli

GHBoy | Paul Harvard | Charing Cross Theatre | Jon Pashley

The burgeoning party scene of East London hides a dark secret: a swathe of young men dying unexpectedly, with whispers of an unnamed killer.

This brand new piece of theatre tackles the misconceptions around gay culture and promiscuity. Something far more ominous is driving men like Robert to the point of self-destruction.

Deciding to start art therapy, the protagonist Robert recognises a chance to get turn his life around and discovers his love for painting.

With costume designs and a versatile and multifuntional set by Bettina John.

★★★★ star review from A Younger Theatre

★★★★ star review from The Reviews Hub

A man in underwear, GHBoy

★★★★ star review from Love London Love Culture

CAST: Sylvester Akinrolabu, Geoff Aymer, Marc Bosch, Buffy Davis, Jimmy Essex, Devesh Kishore, Aryana Ramkhalawon

CREATIVES: Writer – Paul Harvard / Director – Jon Pashley / Movement – Gerrard Martin / Set & Costume Designer – Bettina John / Lighting Designer – Tony Simpson / Sound Designer – Rona Castrioti / Additional Casting – Ellie Collyer-Bristow CDG / Production Manager – Jonathan Simpson / Press – Kate Morley PR / General Management – James Quaife Productions

Produced by James Quaife Productions

★★★★ star review from West End Wilma

Enron | Lucy Prebble | London College of Music | Paul Harvard

Featuring an original score by London College of Music composition students, Enron (Lucy Prebble) follows a group of flawed men and women in a narrative of greed and loss set around the 1990s financial chaos. The play mixes classical tragedy with savage comedy and surreal metaphor. Performed by the LCM final year BA Acting students and directed by Paul Harvard.

Bettina John’s starting point for the stage design was the play’s form – a slick and fast pace, slightly surreal but very modern and current piece of writing, which is reflected in an abstract world of white archive boxes, that functions as a projection surface.

Assistants Noemie Laffargue and Megan Stilwell

enron by lucy prebble LCM
enron by lucy prebble LCM

Alice In Wonderland | Perm Theatre for the Young Russia | Michael Hunt

This extraordinary adaptation of the classic Alice in Wonderland directed by Michael Hunt with set and costumes by Bettina John, re-imagines Wonderland as a curious modern landscape, reminiscent of computer generated images. This is where Bettina John starts her design exploration, the world of the internet with all its real and surreal aspects, especially when it starts taking over real life.

Photographs by Roman Gorbatovskogo

Broken Dreams | Belinda Evangelica | Live Art

Bettina John developed a comprehensive costume design for Belinda Evangelica’s new live performance “Broken Dreams” (Spieglein, Spieglein an der Wand) and the photo works associated with this work.

For this work Belinda Evangelica took fairy tales and mythology as a starting point for her exploration into what success means in society today. The costume design plays with various images taken from these worlds while not referencing any specifically. The design departs from Evangelica’s ‘Success Cycle‘ also designed by Bettina John.


Alternative Fakes | Liz Aggiss | Dance | The Place

Inspired by ‘alternative facts’ and appropriation ‘formerly known as plagiarism’ (Grayson Perry), this work considers influence and context, whilst grovelling in homage, sampling, borrowing, cribbing, paching, stealing and imitating as a means to create Alternative Fakes.

This dance piece was commissioned by The Place, London School for Conteporary Dance, choreographed by artist and choreographer Liz Aggiss being inspired by artists such as Jerome Bell, John Cooper Clarke, Martha Graham, Dore Hoyer, Suzanne Linke, Bronsislava Nijinska and Jack Stanford.

With her design Bettina John makes use of a punkrock aesthetic and taps into a tradition of appropriation, exploring a fine line of invention and re-invention.


Jimmy Adams
Sarah Bateman
Ruben Brown
Frankie Hickman
Reece McMahon
Ruby Portus
Thomas Whiting
Sally Mayhew
Marcell Proske
Erena Reilent
Amy Toner

Alternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss Appropriation Alternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss Appropriation  Alternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss Appropriation

Alternative Fakes Liz Aggiss Appropriation  Alternative Fakes Liz Aggiss Appropriation Alternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss AppropriationAlternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss AppropriationAlternative Fakes Lizz Aggiss Appropriation Alternative Fakes Liz Aggiss Appropriation