Soon after John began teaching and lecturing at Cambridge School of Art in the 1950s, he also became increasingly involved with designing both the costumes and sets for the theatrical productions at the college and for what became The Mumford Theatre. Before his arrival, the costume department was a well-worn assorted collection of costumes that was emptied onto the floor from a trunk for each show!

During the following 30 years, John designed sets and costumes for the increasingly ambitious plays and operas staged at the college. Initially these were performed in what is now the Ruskin Gallery (where once Syd Barrett could be seen in a tin bath in the Caucasian Chalk Circle when he was an art student), also for the ADC Theatre, Cambridge. John then went on to design for many of the major productions at The Mumford Theatre – formerly called the College Auditorium.

The production pages on this site show a small selection of the materials that are still available, gathered by John’s children after his death, also kindly lent by; Brian Anderson’s widow Dorothy, as well as by Mumford Theatre & Ruskin Gallery Manager, Richard Purkiss – our sincere thanks to them both.



John left nine bulging portfolios of drawings and paintings. A mass of material with nothing labelled, so some detective work has been used to piece together the patchwork of materials for the various productions. We would be very happy to receive any clarification from anyone who may recognise something that is in the wrong section or where the information needs correction. We would also love to hear from you if you have memories to share, just go to the Contact Page – thank you.