Dead Man Walking

“Thoroughly well put together…”

“A strong and moving staging by Orpha Phelan, of a strong and moving work. Too much for anyone…but it is great art.”

“No imperfections in this production”

“Orpha Phelan’s staging and Nicky Shaw’s scenography are at once moderate, expansive and flexible.”

“Staged with great understanding by Irish director, Orpha Phelan.”

“Nicky Shaw has created a great frame and got church and prison to work in one modern elementary building, just like the costumes is remarkable.”

“The audience is saved no details. Experiencing this production of Dead Man Walking is like watching a film immersed in a large musical aquarium of emotions. Depicted vividly with cinematic accuracy….this is a sharply staged production.”



‘Comical and clever’

‘With visuals entrusted to director Annilese Miskimmon and designer Nicky Shaw, Garsington’s jokey, modern-dress approach feels apposite: the piece contains ironic and even blatantly comic episodes in its retelling of a cautionary tale on the eternally fresh theme of Be Careful What You Wish For’.

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s wittily imaginative production’

‘Nicky Shaw’s enchanting designs – Jupiter’s realm is evoked with celestial blues, reflective surfaces, even glowing orbs – provide some ravishing stage pictures’.

‘There are magical moments in this staging of one of Handel’s most richly inventive scores.’

"There is much to enjoy, and Garsington Opera Orchestra, under Jonathan Cohen, brings out the full glory of Handel's score."

"A magical new production."

‘Miskimmon's take on the piece, stunningly designed by Nicky Shaw in rich tones of blue and white, fleshes out all the characters, even the gods, and for the most part she maintains a light comic touch’.

‘Garsington’s new production of Handel’s Semele, directed by Annilese Miskimmon, is something of a triumph’.

‘Nicky Shaw’s designs include fitted bright-blue flight crew uniforms for the heavenly attendants and an evocative moonlit backdrop. As the sun sets outside Garsington’s airy pavilion theatre, the stage responds with illuminated moons and a candlelit memorial to Semele’.

‘The most imaginative production of utter delight...’

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s larky take on the piece, which possesses a rich seam of levity, not least in the pouty posturings of self-loving Semele in her rock-star assortment of glittering outfits.’

‘That it looks wonderful, too, is all thanks to designer Nicky Shaw.’

‘Garsington's fabulous production of Semele.’

‘This was an evening of ravishingly beautiful music. The singers were superb, the chorus was big and bountiful; the orchestra gave a vivacious and theatrical performance.’

‘A witty, winning production...’

‘First-rate musical performance and production that's hard to fault.’



‘with Luigi Rossi’s Orpheus – performed by ROH singers in the timbered, candle-lit intimacy of the Wanamaker – we cried and laughed in equal measure. Directed by Keith Warner, and powered by Christian Curnyn and his brilliant Early Opera Company band, this is an absolutely entrancing show’.

‘A fresh streamlined production...beautifully judged’

‘Singers in period costume declaim from the auditorium, float from the ceiling or descend from a rope ladder attached precariously to the gallery. A few tables and chairs suffice for almost every other purpose. The action is fluid, the comedy, assisted by Christopher Cowell’s translation, far funnier than it could have been. What emerges is more than the sum of this opera’s parts.’

‘Funny, enchanting to eye and ear and remarkably gripping.’

‘Great immediacy in an intimate space’

‘The Royal Opera’s production of Luigi Rossi’s uneven footnote to operatic history gets the tragicomic balance just right, with some fine numbers’

‘Warner’s restrained staging gets the tragicomic balance just about right. There’s a minimum of set – just a few tables and benches – with Nicky Shaw’s costumes suggesting English restoration more than Louis XIV. All the performances – cameos as well as principals – come across with great immediacy in such a small space’

‘Magic, wit and style in hidden gem’

‘Music and staging breathe together and the 'A fresh streamlined production...beautifully judged' result is constantly engaging, often magical’

‘The dramatic momentum is unflagging, but the darker emotional recesses are explored too in this constantly engaging production’

'The cast were magnificent’

‘With Christian Curnyn, a specialist in music of this period, conducting the Orchestra of Early Opera Company, and Christopher Cowell having provided a wonderful translation, it all added up to a splendid evening's 17th century entertainment’

‘Curnyn draws glorious colours from his orchestra’

‘The candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse weaves its spell Nicky Shaw squeezes every conceivable use from the tiny performing space with some neat visual tricks along the way. Watch out for les trois cloches. Warner is inspired by the space to play both with and against the music's courtliness’.

‘Peerless young cast and musical ravishment from Christian Curnyn in a Rossi delight’

‘Perhaps the best and certainly the most surprising of the Royal Opera's Orpheus offerings’

Director Keith Warner ... simply came up with something very lively and fluid, with adaptable tables and benches and stylish costumes from Nicky Shaw – more court of Charles II as befitted the venue than Louis XIV’


Madama Butterfly

“Butterfly isn’t the first abandoned child bride in Japan. When the curtain goes up on Annilese Miskimmon’s new Puccini production for Glyndebourne’s touring wing, we’re not in Pinkerton’s flat-pack house, but Goro’s marriage bureau, where drunk American sailors pay up, grab a geisha and head off to the hotel next door.”

“It’s a jolting beginning and — if it takes some liberties with the libretto — the scene, brilliantly designed by Nicky Shaw and atmospherically lit by Mark Jonathan, establishes the tenor of Miskimmon’s production immediately: no queasy sentimentality, no room for cherry-blossom Japan.”

“Annilese Miskimmon’s production of Madama Butterfly for the autumn tour proves to be immensely rewarding.”

“The Belfast-born director’s work is increasingly admired for her perception and sheer stagecraft, and this show is no exception. She updates the action to the 1950s, also taking the controversial decision to set the first act in Goro’s Marriage Bureau in downtown Nagasaki, a location which in Nicky Shaw’s designs suggests absolute efficiency and an air of sleaziness simultaneously”

“Elsewhere, one can have few reservations about a production that explores text and music both seriously and sensitively. Puccini and his skilful librettists may do much of the work for you, but Miskimmon and an excellent cast ensure that the emotional impact of the piece is devastating.”

“On August 9, 1945, an atomic bomb dropped by America on Nagasaki killed 35,000 people and left the Japanese city devastated. The flavour of the era is conveyed by designer Nicky Shaw’s setting the first scene, not in a traditional paper-screened house with cherry blossom, but in marriage-broker Goro’s sleazy downtown office where a conveyor belt of instant hook-ups between Japanese girls and American servicemen provides a profitable income. Butterfly arrives with family in tow, oblivious that the marriage ceremony is a sham. No wonder American Consul Sharpless warns Lieutenant BF Pinkerton against abusing the trust of a 15-year-old girl.”

“The humming song as Butterfly and her maid Suzuki await news of Pinkerton’s return is exquisitely realised in shadow silhouettes against an ethereal blue background.”



‘Jenufa transposed to the west of Ireland makes perfect sense.’

‘To swap a Czech folk setting for whitewashed stone, slate roof and the Irish conscription crisis of 1918 might sound effortful at best, at worst tiresome. This was Annilese Miskimmon’s solution, lightly handled, for her new staging for Scottish Opera, a co-production with Danish National Opera. It proved as natural as crossing a room and looking out of another window. The landscape is the same, the perspective different and unexpected.’

‘Adroitly designed by Nicky Shaw with lighting by Mark Jonathan, the work opens in the confined yard outside a small stone house, the Kostelnicka’s. This plain exterior is later reversed to reveal a detailed interior: scrubbed wooden table, dresser with plates, copper pans, candles and objects of faith, notably a crucifix.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s intelligent and sensitive new co-production for Scottish Opera and Danish National Opera relocates the drama from Moravia to the west of Ireland in 1918, where interior decorations and social dynamics feel unnervingly close to home.’

‘The first act plays out against the whitewashed exterior of a lifesize stone cottage; later the drama moves inside to a handsome period kitchen, astutely rendered down to the brown betty teapot. With heartbreaking empathy and an eye for subtle gesture, Miskimmon makes every character reasoned, every disastrous decision explicable, every relationship as complicated as real life. It’s like watching a troubled slice of your own family history.’

‘Director Annilese Miskimmon...has chosen to shift the story to her native Ireland at the time of the First World War. It is a bold stroke that not only gives a particular historical slant to the threat of conscription faced by Jenufa's lover Steva at the opening of the opera, but also gives the importance of their doomed child's reported baptism and other specific religious references in the libretto a particular rural Catholic context that will be easily understood by modern British audiences.’

‘Jenufa is an exploration of grief on a scale that Wagner, for example, was too grand to contemplate, and it requires quality acting performances to match. That is exactly what Miskimmon has found in this cast, in an interpretation that gives the men, who are the obvious villains in a tale that no-one emerges from well, moments of redemption to balance their foolishness.’

‘Carefully measured vocal performances match the detailed characterisation, meticulous design (Nicky Shaw) and thoughtful blocking (with choreography by the ever-present Kally Lloyd-Jones).’

‘It’s the anonymity of Miskimmon’s fluid staging and Nicky Shaw’s detailed storybook set designs - a cottage that opens up like a doll’s house for the interior drama of Acts Two and Three – that is this show’s strong selling point.’

‘this is a production Scottish Opera can be proud of’

‘Annilese Miskimmon’s production, brilliantly designed by Nicky Shaw – who shows us the exterior and interior of the Kostelnicka’s house, but leaves out the crucial and symbolic mill wheel – is set in the west of Ireland in 1918, instead of in the Moravian village of the original.’

‘Miskimmon’s production is focused and detailed, presenting the characters and their complex individual situations with acuteness and veracity. As a staging, this must rank as a notable success for Scottish Opera.’

‘Janáček's turbulent and disturbing opera of mill workers in Moravia was brought forward to rural Ireland at the end of the First World War in a haunting joint production with Danish National Opera directed by Annilese Miskimmon, its Artistic Director.’

‘In this intriguing and powerful reading Miskimmon does not let them get off so lightly.’

‘we were drawn into Grandmother Buryjovká's family, all set outside a full scale model of a whitewashed Irish cottage in Act I, which opened out like a doll's house to a homely interior complete with dresser and a set of copper pans in a clever design by Nicky Shaw.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon has changed the setting of the opera from the Moravia of the 1880s to the west of Ireland in 1918 – an intelligent re-contextualising which makes the drama more vividly immediate without ignoring or slighting the libretto’s implications. Jenufa and the Kostelnicka live in a whitewashed stone cottage, its interior and
exterior naturalistically rendered in Nicky Shaw’s designs.’

‘Annilese Miskimmon directed an extraordinarily sensitive and accurate portrayal of a family's tribulations.’

‘The impressive set initially is of the outside of a mill cottage with action outside and from opened windows on two floors. After the interval we were watching the goings-on inside the same realistic cottage.’

‘This was a serious and particularly successful Scottish Opera and Danish National Opera production to be highly commended.’

‘Scottish Opera sets Janáček classic in rural Ireland at the end of WWI’

‘Annilese Miskimmon has hit on a perspective that well fits the opera’s complex balances of relationships. The stigma of being unmarried and having a baby is one that is keenly felt, but it is the power of love – whether Jenůfa’s for the wrong man as the story unfolds, or her forgiveness of her step-mother as the opera comes to its surprisingly optimistic close – that is examined most effectively under Miskimmon’s microscope.’

‘With design by Nicky Shaw, the set provides a domestic intimacy that drew the audience into what is overall a superbly strong production from the Scottish / Danish partnership.’


Peter Pan

“Brilliant, grotesque, surreal and deeply disturbing in all the right Freudian corners, Richard Ayres’s operatic version of JM Barrie’s story is a triumph that will grip children and give adults plenty to think about. Ayres’s terrifyingly visceral score and Lavinia Greenlaw’s sparse yet cunning distillation of Barrie’s story uncover layer after layer of dark, sometimes painful subtexts that decades of sanitised films and stagings have buried. Yet at the same time they provide a rollicking two hours of entertainment. And Keith Warner’s gloriously inventive staging for Welsh National Opera compliments both aspects.”

“Keith Warner’s hugely inventive production, with designs by Jason Southgate, costumes by Nicky Shaw and choreography by Michael Barry, enables the social and psychological dimensions of the story to be touched on without any risk of overload.”

“Edwardian railway carriages allude to J M Barrie’s England, while a visible backstage crew serve to suggest that we’re watching a provincial dramatic society enactment of the drama, with pirates and Lost Boys alike played, fittingly, by adults in short trousers.”

“Inventive Pan flies high in a treat for the whole family”

“The virtuosity of the stagecraft matches that of the score”

“The two hours, like Peter Pan himself, flew by.”

“Be assured: Richard Ayres and Lavina Greenlaw’s new opera Peter Pan is most certainly still Peter Pan. A pirate ship; a plummy, moustache-twirling Captain Hook; a show-stealing crocodile / clockodile: they’re all present and correct, including the moment when Peter asks the audience to help save Tinkerbell’s life. It’s rare to hear an opera audience respond with such enthusiasm: with the orchestra, too, contributing a chorus of fantastical clicks, grunts and squeaks.”

“Not that this was panto, for all its exuberance. Ayres’s music and Greenlaw’s libretto managed to keep all the joy of the story while pointing up its more bizarre aspects. Ayres’ eclectic, energetic score - conducted with verve by Erik Nielsen - had something like the directness and pace of Janacek.”


Acis and Galatea

“The splendid Mid Wales Opera opened its 25th anniversary year with a fresh and charming production of Handel’s Acis and Galatea, a gorgeous combination of young talent and aspiring professionals in a show that cannot fail to delight.”

“The set and costume designs from Nicky Shaw give an elegantly clean and uncluttered take on the Greek myth.”

“This is almost a set within a set as a large box on the stage opens creating different spaces, allowing the players to weave in and out of doors, cut outs, around trees.”

“With Brecon Baroque players and a student chorus on the side of the stage, this is a charming and inspired ensemble work from a company that refuses to allow budget and touring bounds restrict its ambition.”

“Handel's pastoral opera – Greek idyll turned tragic – offers the perfect masterclass in baroque style, and this production marked a happy collaboration between Nicholas Cleobury's Mid-Wales Opera, violinist Rachel Podger's Brecon Baroque and students of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.”

“From an initially unassuming plywood diptych emerges an ingenious, orgami-like, painted set, whose folding and unfolding doors add variety to the basic portrait of rural charm.”

“With movement wittily choreographed to Handel's lilting rhythms and a Feydeauesque charm to Acis and Galatea's in-and-out-the-houses love-chase, all was sunshine and roses. Sudden darkness dispelled that, with the shadow of giant Polyphemus looming large and the transition from first to second act much slicker for going through without interval.”

“Miskimmon's most telling intervention was in the death of Acis: yes, the jealous giant killed him with a stone, but there was no collapse of body in an embarrassing heap. Rather, Acis became first a stone statue, then a walking wraith. It set in train a ritual candle-lit procession, all the more affecting for the hushed pianissimo from Podger and her players. Out of this, Acis's subsequent transformation into a running spring had a feeling of hope and consolation attuned to both myth and music.”

“A gorgeous combination of young talent and aspiring professionals in a show that cannot fail to delight… with Brecon Baroque players and a student chorus on the side of the stage, this is a charming and inspired ensemble work.”

“A collaboration that clearly paid off as the Greek myth based love-triangle tale was performed beautifully by the cast, chorus and orchestra.”


The Magic Flute

Nominated: Best Opera, Irish Times

“Nicky Shaw’s minimalist, uncluttered set design intelligently facilitated the busy interchange of characters”

“The evening was, however, ultimately director Annilese Miskimmon’s triumph. To call her Magic Flute a feminist interpretation is tempting, but misleadingly reductive: she’s simply had the courage to unravel the assumptions about male domination and superiority which are fundamental to Emanuel Schikaneder’s libretto, and subject them to intelligent twenty first century investigation. Her Act Two in particular is a locus classicus of acuity and clarity, the most probing and revelatory I’ve seen in thirty years attending productions of the opera.”

“if you’re under the impression that Mozart’s personality was impish and impudent, then what would have won you over was the delightful, mischievous balancing act performed by director Annilese Miskimmon between comic and serious. Happily, her balance favoured the comic – many Magic Flutes have the life abruptly drained out of them by a stodgy reverence for Mozart’s Freemason-alluding temple brotherhood. Miskimmon channels Mozart and pokes fun at the order and at pomp in general”

“Under Miskimmon’s pacey direction, the design team wittily lights and sets the story in roughly 1912 – we see suffragettes, Monostatos is a London bobby. In all it precisely fulfils OTC chairperson Virginia Kerr’s wish that “an evening at the opera take us out of ourselves and lift our spirits.”

“It’s an interesting question how much Mozart bought into the misogyny that peppers the libretto of his great panto-opera … It’s left to Annilese Miskimmon, artistic director of what is now Ireland’s major company, Opera Theatre Company, to take it on. And she does it very entertainingly in this touring production, with nothing spurious and no hint of hectoring, by spinning the characters and action in a way that actually makes you think new things, a rare and welcome feeling in the opera house. Miskimmon manages to make the show funny and charming while retaining ats bite and a proper sense of mystery, a balance one longs for in the Flute but rarely finds. It’s energetically performed in Nicky Shaw’s clever trapdoors-and-ladders design, with smart visual larks on top of the slapstick and character-comedy … this Flute plays some sweetly profound tunes.”

“director Annilese Miskimmon … has gone for a feminist take on the story, including the Queen of the Night’s female contingent showing up at the end as a bunch of suffragettes and the priests of Isis and Osiris looking like censorious clergymen. But everything is handled with a light touch so it is all very entertaining, full of atmosphere, and funny without descending into slapstick”

“marvellously inventive … the imaginative sets and costumes contributed to the production’s zaniness”



Nominated: Best Opera, The South Bank Sky Awards

“the festival struck gold with Ambroise Thomas’s Mignon”
“Buxton’s staging is a winner in the delicate hands of the director Annilese Miskimmon and the designer Nicky Shaw, who recently devised an enchanting L’amico Fritz for Opera Holland Park. Here, too, they maintain a fine balance between comedy, sentiment and pathos, preceding the action with the abduction of Mignon as a child and recounting the psychological journey she makes as an adult, from the abused “captive” of a ruthless traveling theatre manager to reunion with her long-lost father, Lothario, and the arms of her beloved, the elusive Wilhelm.”
“Buxton’s programme makes much of the supposed absurdity of the plot, but Miskimmon made sense of it in Shaw’s resourceful sets and colourful 1920s costumes.”

“This English-language production, using the creaky sung recitatives the composer wrote for the first London performances rather than the spoken dialogues of the Paris original, made no attempt to sex up the action. Instead of being embarrassed by Mignon’s period conventions, the up-and-coming director Annilese MIskimmon made a virtue of them, preserving the innocence of the story and sprinkling it with fairy-dust: Nicky Shaw’s cutaway sets, lit by John Bishop, created maximum atmosphere with minimal resources. We smelt the train station at the end of Act one just as we felt the fire at the close of Act Two, which was dominated by a fabulous trompe l’oeil lakeside reflection.”

“directed by Annilese Miskimmon, the Buxton festival’s new production leaves you wondering why the opera has been neglected for so long. Miskimmon, relocating it to the brittle world of the 1920s, carefully probes the delicate balance between reality and illusion.”
“this is beautifully integrated music theatre that immerses you completely in its world.”

“Buxton’s young production team, director Annilese Miskimmon and designer Nicky Shaw, make the most of the festival’s limited financial resources to put on a good-looking show that is traditional but imaginative.”

“I could admire the sensitivity of Annilese Miskimmon’s light-footed staging, attractively designed by Nicky Shaw, and enjoyed the thoughtful singing of Wendy Dawn Thompson in the title-role and the clean, well-schooled tenor of Ryan MacPherson as her admirer Wilhelm Meister.”


The Diary of Anne Frank

Nominated: Best Opera, Irish Times

“Frid isn’t afraid of tunes or jazz: this is no serialist nightmare. What he accomplishes in the 21 scenes he chose for his libretto (with the help of Nicky Shaw’s designs of elegant simplicity and sensitive, understated direction by Miskimmon and Ingrid Craigie) is to transform into music the distance between a sort of outward normality – life continues – and the jangly horror of the menace that constantly threatens: there are moments where this comes close to being a parable of human existence, not simply the horrific ordeal of one teenage girl”

“Co-directed by Annilese Miskimmon and Ingrid Craigie, ‘Anne Frank’ comes in Nicky Shaw’s ingenious design and Tina MacHugh’s effective lighting. Opening like pages in a book, a silver screen transforms to hall, window and office while trapdoors camouflage commodious hidey-holes”

“design-wise this was a triumph of set (Nicky Shaw) and lighting (Tina MacHugh) combining to deliver a truly imaginative response to the work. Confinement and concealment seemed to be the dominating motifs. A giant diary sounds like a terrible old cliché until you see this one”

“Nicky Shaw’s set transforms grey geometry into ingenious self-reference, while the sure hand of co-directors Annilese Miskimmon and Ingrid Craigie exerts itself on every last detail”
“A premiere for Ireland…..this exquisite piece of music theatre raises the bar for Irish touring opera”

“Grigory Frid’s work was staged with stark simplicity that veered between wrenching intensity and heart-warming tenderness”


L’amico Fritz

“make haste to Kensington because the moment Stuart Stratford launches the prelude with pristine and piquant articulation from the City of London Sinfonia there’ll be a smile on your face. You’ll be gazing at Nicky Shaw’s retro set regognising, if you are old enough, all the signs of 1950’s chic.”
“Annilese Miskimmon’s delightful staging hits all the right notes and what an ingenious touch to turn the benevolent Fritz into a builder of picture-perfect homes doubtless offered at knock-down prices to the less well-heeled of the local community. The scene change will make you smile too…“

“In the hands of director Annilese Miskimmon and her designer Nicky Shaw, the cautionary tale of the eponymous bachelor landowner who thinks he has escaped Cupid’s dart time-travels into the suburban America of the 1950s, where he becomes the handsome singleton boss and cynosure of the typing pool. Here is an updating that proves effortless, enlivening – and nicely cute.”

“Annilese Miskimmon’s production for Opera Holland Park relocates it to the US and re-imagines it as a 1950s, Rock Hudson and Doris Day-style romcom. Fritz (Eric Margiore) is an eligible New York property tycoon-cum-philanthropist, keen on mod cons and Mondrian, and adored by the swooning women in his typing pool. Anna Leese’s Suzel, meanwhile, manages the show house on one of his estates, where David (David Stephenson) prowls round the garden, carefully engineering meetings between them. It all has bags of charm without ever descending to archness, and it’s quite wonderfully sung”

“An Italian rarity is sung with charm, looks a treat, and is conducted as if it were the greatest score ever written.”
“Annilese Miskimmon’s pastel-perfect 1950s production lends wit and fibre to this slender, tender romance. Nicky Shaw’s crisp designs place us in the idealised America of a Norman Rockwell illustration.”

“In Annilese Miskimmon’s smart and gently understated production, Mascagni’s bucolic opera emerges as a real charmer.”
“Miskimmon and her designer, Nicky Shaw, move the action from 19th-century rural Alsace to 1950s small-town America, where Fritz Kobus is a property developer – “Building the perfect home, for your perfect wife”, according to his advertising hoarding.”
“This is vintage Opera Holland Park”

“Annilese Miskimmon’s updating to 1950s America (great sets by Nicky Shaw)”
“The outer acts take place in an office straight out of Mad Men, with the Pollyannaish second act set on the great American Plains, a white box show house surrounded by a fence you can imagine Tom Sawyer painting. The switch between the two is ingeniously done … (a) delightful evening”

“The reason Mascagni’s L’amico Fritz is so rarely heard is not the music, which is gorgeous, but the non-existent plot, in which a wealthy landowner falls in love with a beautiful young girl, facing no conflict or opposition on the way. It could hardly be better done, though, in Annilese Miskimmon’s delightful Mad Men-style production set in a 1950s office.”



“a splendidly compact stage set which, at first, seemed like a big box until, eventually, it opened up to full-stage width – revealing a striking use of colour and lighting”

“Nicky Shaw’s designs – a unit set that could be broken up and re-shaped, with good looking Edwardian costumes – were quietly effective”

“a very well sung Alcina in a blissfully simple and searingly emotional staging by the artistic director of the company, Annilese Miskimmon.”
“I have rarely been as moved as I was by this glorious masterpiece.”

“Annilese Miskimmon’s observant, chamber version … admitted the sadness at the opera’s heart and brought a woman’s sensibility to something usually presented from Ruggiero’s point of view.”
“The setting was Edwardian – all those buttons yearning to be popped open; the set a simple unfolding cube that was Alcina’s funeral cypress-girt island outside and her red-lit sanctum within.”



“To establish and maintain such appalling neurotic tension, balance it with the sweetness of the score, allow lullabies, laments and love duets to unfold luxuriously, suggest a syphilitic subtext to King René’s guilt, and introduce and explore the characters of Iolanta’s swaggering betrothed, Robert (Mark Stone), and the stranger who liberates her, Vaudemont (Peter Auty), is an extraordinary achievement for Miskimmon, designer Nicky Shaw, conductor Stuart Stratford, the City of London Sinfonia, and the cast.”

“A rarely staged masterpiece full of dazzling melodies, presented in an intelligent production with superb singing and playing … it’s yet another hit for Holland Park.”
“By setting the story in the 1890s, director Annilese Miskimmon and designer Nicky Shaw create a claustrophobic, Freudian atmosphere which makes perfect sense of the themes and yet allows us to ponder their troubling ramifications for ourselves.”

“A previous production “left one thinking that a concert presentation might be all it needs, but at Holland Park Annilese Miskimmon and her brilliant designer Nicky Shaw suggested otherwise”
“Shaw’s semi-abstract set evoked an out-of-joint fantasy world on the edge of a forest. The characters wore costumes the young Sigmund Freud would have recognised and Miskimmon depicted them as distraught romantic individuals caught in the maelstrom of social change around the turn of the century”
“it was Miskimmon’s subtle and beautiful staging, as much as the excellent musical performance, that remains in the memory: a vindication of the stageworthiness of Tchaikovsky’s late opera”

“Nicky Shaw‘s garden setting looked luscious, and the staging was simple and ultimately very moving”
“Holland Park’s excellent Iolanta”

“It has actually taken OHP’s inspired production of Tchaikovsky’s last opera Iolanta to convince me that it is a near-masterpiece, because no recording or performance I have heard or seen before has approached this level of conviction and intensity, with acting and singing to match, while Stuart Stratford’s conducting is magnificent.”

“Nicky Shaw’s designs conjure an enclosed garden in the forest where Iolanta is kept hidden from the world and Annilese Miskimmon’s staging charts every point in the unfolding story with unerring skill. The production reveals the opera as a neglected masterpiece.”


The Coronation of Poppea

Nominated: Best Opera, Irish Times

“In Nicky Shaw’s simple but handsome set and characterful costumes, this Poppea is a distinguished addition to OTC’s repertoire”

“this was an unrelenting and gripping piece of theatre that will lodge somewhat uncomfortably, perhaps, in the the mind”
“An excellent stage setting and lighting provided great scope for the players”

“Miskimmon fleshes out her vision of the fate of what her introductory note calls “the terrible twosome” with finely-controlled detail and genuine theatrical flair.
Nicky Shaw’s designs, abstract set and a mixture of modern and not-so-modern costumes with lots of déshabillé, all resourcefully lit by Simon Corder, match her every step of the way.”

“The cool blue set design is a triumph and the accompanying Irish Baroque Orchestra provide soulful and meaningful interpretations. But the greatest contribution of the evening is by director Annilese Miskimmon.
The lone cigarette and electrical appliances do not seem like superfluous contemporary touches in this vision.
Also, and most impressively, the director defines each motive and mood with a rare clarity and panache, allowing the beauty of line and harmony to fill the auditorium.”


Dancing Shadows

Winner: 5 Korean Musical Awards, including Best Musical

“The musical, directed by Paul Garrington and written by Ariel Dorfmann, immediately caught the audience’s attention with impressive stage sets, world-class musical scores and flamboyant choreography.”


La Cenerentola

“There was striking use of rich colours in the splendid, meticulously detailed costumes from Nicky Shaw”


Don Giovanni

“Mid Wales Opera’s touring production – low on budget, high on production values – takes Mozart’s Don Giovanni into Mafia country, and makes it work”


La Rencontre Imprévue

“Nicky Shaw’s cleverly spatial sets”



“set in a simple, bare box designed by Nicky Shaw”

“elegantly abstracted designs by Nicky Shaw this was an altogether stylish undertaking”