Nigel Triffitt was one of Australia's most innovative and visionary director/designers. Born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1949, Triffitt studied briefly at both the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney and the Drama Centre, London before deciding that experience was the better teacher.
Throughout the 1970s, Triffitt's work as a devisor, director and designer ran the gamut of theatrical styles; working in traditional theatre as Resident Director at St Martin's Theatre in South Yarra; directing student theatre at Monash University, and taking his Yellow Brick Road Show traveling around Australia and overseas. During the late 1970s, Triffitt worked as a freelance writer, director and designer on community-devised productions such as The Darwin Show and theatre-in-education pieces such as Juke – a Milkbar Romance.
His work was brought to greater public attention with the creation of Momma's Little Horror Show(1978), an eclectic mixture of adult puppet theatre and visual theatre. Highlights from Triffitt's career include the productions Secrets (1983), which was developed in conjunction with Handspan Visual Theatre, and the Fall of Singapore (1987).
Although widely associated with puppetry and visual theatre, Triffitt has worked in almost every field of the performing arts. He has worked with dance collaborators such as Jonathon Taylor and The Australian Dance Theatre (Wildstars, 1979 and High Flyers, 1985), and Dein Perry on the internationally acclaimed Tap Dogs.
He has designed and directed musical productions from rock tours such as the Men at Work 1983 World Tour to the operas Metamorphosis (1984), Samson and Delilah (1984), and Moby Dick for the 1990 Melbourne International Festival. He has also worked his magic on revivals of the musicalsHair (1991) and The Rocky Horror Show (1992).
Triffitt was equally comfortable in the intimacy of a small theatre or the paddock-like expanses of Australian celebratory events such as Brisbane's Expo' 88, or the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games for which devised, designed and directed part of the Opening Ceremony.
Triffitt passed away on the 20 July 2012, and his achievements have been remembered in a memorial gathering held at Arts Centre Melbourne's Fairfax studio to celebrate his life's dedication to theatre and the arts.
Barry Ferrier (aka Barry Ferrier) is a Byron Bay based Australian musician, songwriter /composer and multimedia designer.