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David Conville OBE Memorial Sculpture 24

By Open Air Theatre

Clare and Leo Conville. Photo David Jensen (2)

David Conville’s children, Clare and Leo, attending the unveiling of the sculpture.

Published: 24 May 2019

We commissioned Lee Simmons to design a sculpture celebrating the life of David Conville OBE, who passed away in November 2018. As founder of the company, Artistic and Managing Director, Chairman and Honorary President, David retired in 2012 following a 50-year association with the theatre.

The form of the sculpture derives from an abstract interpretation of the auditorium that aims to capture an essence of what it feels like to play in the open, exposed to the elements, and captures the sense of envelopment that is the centre of the stage. The form further echoes the evolving dialogue between actor, audience and nature with its changing of height from left to right and front to back.

Watching theatre in this venue delivers an unprecedented experience. Both stage and auditorium are uncovered, so weather adds a thrilling dimension to the bold and dynamic productions; productions which truly stimulate the senses. The natural environment and transition from daylight to dusk has informed the abstract and organic nature of the sculpture, even in how the sculpture itself responds to the breeze with a slight, pleasing movement.

The blade of grass-like fins of the sculpture are made from weathering steel that will, in time, weather down to organic tones of browns and oranges, akin to the sculpture’s natural surroundings.

Nestled within the foliage surrounding of our picnic lawn, this sculpture honours David Conville’s contribution, dedication and love of this place, so do take a look next time you visit…and please do walk on the bark around it for a closer look (an inscription is on the reverse of one of the lower fins).

About the Artist: Lee Simmons MA RCA An award-winning Royal College of Art graduate, Lee Simmons describes his work as a synthesis that brings together architecture, art and design and exploits the relationship between their blurred peripheries. Simmons is currently working on a number of high profile projects around the capital and his work can be found in both public and private collections. His recent commissions include an installation for The London Palladium titled ‘Wall of Fame’ on Great Marlborough Street.

David Conville Memorial Sculpture. Photo David Jensen (2)

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