British Museum, London

May 2021

Nero: The Man Behind the Myth questions the traditional narrative established almost 2000 years ago, of the ruthless tyrant and eccentric performer, revealing a different Nero, a populist leader at a time of great change in Roman society. For this major exhibition at the British Museum, we drew from Nero’s persona as a performer as an analogy in our design. In the display of some 200 spectacular objects, we created a series of “stage sets” that evoke a sense of tragic drama using subtle theatrical techniques.

A sense of place is created through the use of materials that suggest concrete, which was pioneered by Nero, as well as evoking architectural elements to give a sense of moving through time and place, from Britain to Rome via a grand arch, and from the Circus Maximus to the Great Fire of Rome. Using this sense of place and scale, poignant one-to-one moments are punctuated by dynamic, large-scale theatrical experiences, generating a sense of emotion and atmosphere in which the story of Nero unfolds.

Photography and Videography by Edward Bishop