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Piper, born in London on 24 November 1964, was educated at Magdalen College School, Oxford. In 1984 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge to read biology, but in mid-course switched to art history. From 1988 to 1990 he attended the Slade School of Art postgraduate course in theatre design.
In 1990 he spent six months with Peter Brook's theatre company in Paris, working on Brook's visionary production of The Tempest, before becoming a freelance designer working at the Nottingham Playhouse, Hampstead Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh and winning the London Fringe Best Design Award for Cat in the Ghetto, staged at the Tabard Theatre, Chiswick, West London.
Piper claims he first got into theatre design almost by accident. He had wanted to be a biologist and was studying natural sciences at Cambridge University, when his old school friend, Sam Mendes, was directing a production of The Tempest and Piper volunteered to build the set.
A year after Boyd became RSC Artistic Director, Piper was appointed the RSC's associate designer.
Piper collaborated with ceramic artist Paul Cummins in 2014 on the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London. The installation consists of 888,246 ceramic poppies and is a commemoration of the centenary of World War I.
Achievements and awards
- "Michael Boyd: the modest man who saved the RSC". The Telegraph. Sarah Crompton. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
2012Check date values in:
- Steve Orme (2004). "Tom Piper - Designing for Plays and Actors, Not Himself". The British Theatre Guide. Peter Lathan. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
- Orme, Steve (2004-09-23). "Staging coup - Tom Piper". The Stage. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Tom Piper - Associate Designer" (Press release). RSC. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
- "Queen visits Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation - in pictures". The Guardian. 16 October 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2014.
- Staff (8 March 2009). "Speeches: And the Laurence Olivier Winners Said". WhatsonStage.com. Retrieved 8 March 2009.