“I want people to understand the way the arts can colour their lives and elevate their spirits, how art is essential to life.”

John Truscott, 1936–1993

John Truscott

Theatre designer, Academy Award winning film designer and festival director, John Truscott changed the way Melbourne saw itself and the way the rest of the world viewed Melbourne. As artistic director of the Melbourne International Festival he took the festival out into the streets, parks and laneways of the city transforming them into splendid, celebratory spaces that had all of Melbourne seeing them in an entirely new light. Previously John had spent four years designing the spectacular interior finishes of the Victorian Arts Centre and in the process drawing together a remarkable collection of celebrated artists and fine artisans from around the country to realise his ambitious plans.

John honed his skills as a theatre designer, first in Melbourne winning numerous awards and then in London, after which, at the invitation of Jack L. Warner he left for Hollywood. He spent the next fourteen years in America where he won two Academy Awards for art direction and costume design for Camelot starring Vanessa Redgrave, Richard Harris and Franco Nero and was production designer on Paint Your Wagon starring Clint Eastwood and Lee Marvin.