Rob Howell

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Robert (Rob) Stuart Howell is a British costume and set designer. He is primarily known for his work on the London stage. Howell won the Olivier Award for his set design for the musical Matilda the Musical in 2012. He has also designed both scenery and costumes for several Broadway shows, and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design for Ghost the Musical in 2012.


After leaving college, Howell worked for two and a half years with the Royal Shakespeare Company as a resident design assistant. He met Matthew Warchus there, who years later asked him whether he would be interested in working on Matilda the Musical.[1]

Howell has designed sets and costumes for numerous plays and musicals in the UK, in London and for Broadway over a 20-year period (based on a 2012 interview).[1] In London, he has designed for Royal National Theatre productions including Buried Child, Chips with Everything, Troilus and Cressida, Battle Royal, and Howard Katz.[2] He has also designed for productions at the Royal Court Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, the Almeida Theatre, and the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as for regional UK theatres.[2] He was the set and costume designer for the stage musical Lord of the Rings (West End, 2007).[3]

Howell has won three Olivier Awards for Best Set Design. The most recent of these was for his work on the West End production of Matilda the Musical.[4] He has received 2013 Tony Award nominations for his work on the Broadway production of Matilda the Musical, for both Best Scenic Design of a Musical and Best Costume Design of a Musical.[5] His set design for Matilda the Musical was described:

Howell's unique design for Matilda the Musical saw the entire Cambridge theatre, from foyer to stage, transformed into Roald Dahl's imaginative world. The cast climb on giant alphabet blocks, perform in health and safety defying scenes on wooden swings and clamber over the imposing gates of Miss Trunchbull's fearsome school... [the] eye-catching and uniquely eccentric design provides a fittingly colourful and exuberant setting.[6]

Howell designed set and costumes for Richard Eyre's 2014 production of Mozart's opera Le nozze di Figaro at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.[7]

In 2015, it was announced he had teamed up with the creative team from Matilda to design Groundhog Day.[8] The musical is scheduled to premiere at The Old Vic in 2016, before transferring to Broadway.[9]


Source: Internet Broadway Database[10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Olivier Awards[edit]

Source: Olivier Awards[11]
  • 1996: Nominee – The Glass Menagerie, Best Set Designer[12]
  • 2000: Winner – Richard III, Troilus and Cressida and Vassa, Best Set Designer[13]
  • 2000: Nominee – Money and Troilus and Cressida, Best Costume Designer[13]
  • 2006: Winner – Hedda Gabler, Best Set Design[14]
  • 2008: Nominee – Lord of the Rings, Best Set Designer and Best Costume Design[15]
  • 2009: Nominee – The Norman Conquests, Best Costume Design[16]
  • 2012: Winner – Matilda the Musical, Best Set Design; Nominee – Ghost The Musical, Best Set Design and Matilda the Musical, Best Costume Design[17]

Evening Standard Award[edit]

  • 2008: Nominee (Long List) – The Norman Conquests, Best Design[18]

Tony Awards[edit]

Source: Internet Broadway Database[10]
  • Matilda the Musical, 2013 (nominee) – Best Costume Design of a Musical[19]
  • Matilda the Musical, 2013 (winner) – Best Scenic Design of a Musical[19]
  • Ghost The Musical, 2012 (nominee) – Best Scenic Design of a Musical
  • The Norman ConquestsLiving Together; Round and Round the Garden; and Table Manners, 2009 (nominee) – Best Scenic Design of a Play
  • Boeing-Boeing, 2008 (nominee) – Best Costume Design of a Play

Drama Desk Awards[edit]

Source: Internet Broadway Database[10]
  • Matilda the Musical, 2013 (winner) – Outstanding Set Design
  • Ghost The Musical, 2012 (winner) – Outstanding Set Design
  • The Norman ConquestsLiving Together, Round and Round the Garden and Table Manners, 2009 (nominee) – Outstanding Costume Design and Outstanding Set Design of a Play


  1. ^ a b Beckett, Lynda. "Happy Birthday Matilda!", October 1, 2012
  2. ^ a b "Rob Howell, Theatre Credits", accessed May 14, 2013
  3. ^ "Cast and Creative", accessed May 14, 2013
  4. ^ "Rob Howell Profile"
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Nominations Announced for 67th Annual Tony Awards; 'Kinky Boots' Earns 13 Nominations" Archived 2013-10-21 at the Wayback Machine., April 30, 2013
  6. ^ Amer, Matthew. "Matilda's Howell wins Best Set Design", 15 April 2012
  7. ^ "Season Opens, and the Intrigue Is at Last Onstage – Metropolitan Opera Opens with Le nozze di Figaro by Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 23 September 2014
  8. ^ "Groundhog Day musical: Tim Minchin to write lyrics with Matilda collaborators also attached". The Independent. 6 April 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015. 
  9. ^ "'Groundhog Day' musical to premiere at London's Old Vic". Daily Mail. 21 April 2015. Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  10. ^ a b c Rob Howell at the Internet Broadway Database
  11. ^ "Olivier Awards, Set, 1976–2012", accessed May 15, 2013
  12. ^ "Olivier Winners, 1996" Archived 2014-05-28 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 15, 2013
  13. ^ a b "Olivier Winners, 2000" Archived 2012-01-17 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 14, 2013
  14. ^ "Olivier Winners, 2006" Archived 2014-12-29 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 14, 2013
  15. ^ "Olivier Winners, 2008" Archived 2013-04-02 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 14, 2013
  16. ^ "Olivier Winners, 2009" Archived 2012-05-27 at, accessed May 14, 2013
  17. ^ "Olivier Winners, 2012" Archived 2014-11-02 at the Wayback Machine., accessed May 14, 2013
  18. ^ Shenton, Mark. "Revised: Long List Announced for 2008 Evening Standard Awards", November 4, 2008
  19. ^ a b Purcell, Carey. "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards", June 9, 2013

External links[edit]