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Playing with Scale: How Designers Use Set Models

A piece of white card, on top of a grid-marked cutting board, with the words Playing with Scale drawn on in pencil

Playing with Scale: How Designers Use Set Models

From 8 November - 6 May 2019
Wolfson Gallery, Open Mon – Sat


An audio guide of the exhibition is available as 9 tracks:

About this guide 2.8MB | Introduction 9MB | What is a Scale Model? 7.7MB | Making Models 16.3MB | Designing the Olivier Theatre 12.3MB | Designing for the Olivier Theatre 38.8MB | White Card Models 7.6MB | Thinking in 3D 12.2MB | Exhibition credits 9.5MB

Free download to accompany the exhibition

Curator's Essay (pdf 1MB)

Talks and Events

Out of the Model Box: stories inspired by set models Sat 2 March, 12pm
Model Box Making Workshop Sat 2 March, 2pm
Drawing Set Designs with the NT Drawing Office Thu 21 March, 6pm


This free exhibition explores how designers use set models for theatre-making. Playing with Scale unfolds the idea of a scale model and explains the importance of models as a design tool. The exhibition features examples of models from five productions designed for the Olivier stage between 1977-2018 and explores how these intricate models are used in the process of theatre making. Production models include Exit the King, Antony and Cleopatra, The Life of Galileo, Antigone and The Comedy of Errors.

The exhibition includes archive materials, films, audio, images and set models. The exhibition is curated by Eleanor Margolies, who has been the Jocelyn Herbert Fellow of Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon Graduate School, University of the Arts London, and is designed by Jemima Robinson. This exhibition is the outcome of the Jocelyn Herbert Fellowship (2016-18) and forms part of a collaboration between the National Theatre and Camberwell, Chelsea and Wimbledon. The exhibition is funded in part by the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation.