After theatrical designer Kristian Fredrikson (1940–2005) died following a long illness, close friends, stage director George Ogilvie, and design expert Fiona Reilly spent a year of Sundays arranging the mountain of sketches, papers, textiles and scrapbooks that crammed the shelves of his Sydney home. Choreographer Graeme Murphy recalls being astonished at paper everywhere, cascading to the floor. The entire collection, beautifully represented along with other materials in this handsome volume, became the ‘Papers of Kristian Fredrikson’ at the National Library of Australia, where the author, dance critic and historian Michelle Potter was the inaugural Curator of Dance.

Kristian Fredrikson Designer

To write this biography over the course of 11 years, Potter scoured the NLA’s daunting performing arts collections, and others in Australia and in New Zealand, identifying drawings, sketches with scratchy notes, the design ‘bible’ for each production, and hundreds of fine photographs of costumes, performances, superstars, and Fredrikson at work. Many of these fill the lavish book.

Potter also travelled here and abroad to interview Fredrikson’s collaborators, such as conductor Richard Bonynge and choreographer Stanton Welch, to learn more about...