manon act III edited


March 29, 2022


Knysna Fine Art is proud to present a select exhibition of costume and set designs for opera, ballet, and theatre by Peter Cazalet.


Peter Cazalet, now retired, was for decades one of the most distinguished theatrical designers in South Africa, London, the USA and the Far East.


These exquisite designs, often incorporating swatches of fabric, are decorative in the extreme and must be seen by those with an interest in costume and theatre design; interior designers and art lovers alike.


A short history of the artist in his own words

Born in a mining town in Zambia with no access to culture of any sort, followed by a restrictive six years at a church school in Johannesburg, I finally escaped to the University of Cape Town to spend six hedonistic years to scrape together an Architectural degree.


At the same time I caught the theatre bug and got side tracked into UCT Ballet School. Sailed steerage to England to continue my dancing career and lived a hand to mouth existence with various ballet companies.  After ten years I became principal dancer with Scottish Ballet; in the meantime earning extra money designing ballets and drawing cartoons for Dante & Dancers and some off beat choreography.

After a couple of years of achieving a smidgen of fame as a dancer and designer – “Second best ballet designer in Britain – The Times” (who was first was the question), my career was cut short by an injury and I returned to Cape Town in the 70’s.



I began designing ballet for CAPAB, which went on to include Opera, and on becoming Head of Design, was given a studio and staff, and a wide variety of productions.  I finally found time to design in South Africa and Britain, then the USA and the East (Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore) and New Zealand.  This lasted until the end of 2009, with an interruption of the cultural boycott of South Africa in the 80’s.

By this time, I had accumulated many drawings.  My fascination with the design process was always with the different approach needed and excitement engendered during the creative period.  I immersed myself in each new challenge, if necessary changing style and technique in a chameleon-like way.  The final result on stage gave greater or lesser pleasure if everything in the long process worked out well.


I have now settled into a quiet retirement in Sedgefield the time to relish the delights offered locally.





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