Tanya Moiseiwitch with a model box for Casadh an tSugáin by Douglas Hyde for the World Fair in 1939. In 1935 the Abbey Board of Directors announced their intention to adapt a pioneering approach to theatre design. They actively sought out designs from leading figures in the art world including Harry Kernoff, Seán Keating and Maurice Mac Gonigal, grand-father of Fiach Mac Conghail, Director of the Abbey Theatre today.
With the appointment of Hugh Hunt as Play director, changes were afoot. He requested the appointment of Tanya Moiseiwitch. Their collaboration led to innovations in theatre design in Ireland.
Tanya Moiseiwitsch, a pioneering figure in 20th century theatre design was the first full time designer at the Abbey from 1935 to 1939. One of her students Anne Yeats went on to become Resident Designer. This tradition continues to this day.
She went on to work in England, the US and Canada and formed a strong collaborative relationship with Tyrone Guthrie and made a huge impact on interpretations of Shakespeare’s work.