Desmond Heeley

Desmond Heeley (1 June 1931, London – 10 June 2016, New York City) was a British set and costume designer who had an active international career in theater, ballet and opera from the late 1940s through the 2010s.


He began his career as an apprentice designer at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in 1948, and soon established himself as an important designer at that theater and at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. In 1957, he designed his first set for the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada, with whom he established a very long professional relationship, designing sets for more than 40 productions through 2009. He also designed sets and costumes for several Broadway productions and at the Metropolitan Opera.[1]


Heeley has won three Tony Awards. He was notably the first designer to win Tony Awards for both sets and costumes for the same production with his work on the Royal National Theatre production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead in 1968. His third Tony Award win was for the costumes for The Importance of Being Earnest in 2011.


  1. "Obituaries: Desmond Heeley". Opera News. 81 (3). September 2016.
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