John Gunter trained at the Central School of Art and Design in London. After working as Resident Designer for the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre and for the the Schauspielhaus in Zurich he pursued an increasingly busy freelance career in Britain and abroad. He became Head of Design at the Royal National Theatre in 1988 and was Associate Designer there from 1990&nmdash;1993.
Productions designed over the last three decades include Edward Bond's Saved, Storey's The Contractor and Hampton's The Philanthropist at the Royal Court and West of Suez, Juno and the Paycock (nominated for a SWET Award) for the Royal Shakespeare Company. John Gunter has also participated on many Shakespeare productions both in Stratford and London. His work at the Royal National Theatre dates from the 1970s where productions have included Chris Morahan's Wild Honey, Sir Richard Eyre's Guys and Dolls (each winning him a SWET Award) and David Hare's Skylight. Many of these plays and musicals transferred to the West End and to Broadway, where his work has been a regularly feature since the 1960s. Other USA productions have included work with the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles.
In parallel with his career in spoken theatre, John Gunter has designed many operas on three continents. He has worked at Glyndebourne with Sir Peter Hall on the 1985 production of Britten’s Albert Herring, revived in 2002. His designs for Le nozze di Figaro opened the new theatre there in 1994 and Porgy and Bess for Sir Trevor Nunn was seen on television (winning an Emmy Award). Work at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, includes Simon Boccanegra and Der Fliegende Holländer. At the English National Opera his productions include Sir John in Love (2006), Faust, Don Quichotte and Mephistopheles. Recent productions include Roméo et Juliette (Los Angeles Opera and the Lyric Opera of Chicago 2005-06) and Peter Grimes (Osterfestspiele Salzburg 2005) in addition to work with the San Francisco Opera, La Scala in Milan, the Buenos Aires Opera and Australian Opera.
Other acclaimed productions include Jeffrey Bernard Is Unwell, Lady Windermere’s Fan and Mrs Warren’s Profession.
Recent productions include orgy and Bess (London), Doubt (Tricycle Theatre 2007), The Old Country (2006 UK Tour and West End), Epitaph for George Dillon (with Joseph Fiennes in the West End), Hamlet (Old Vic), Love’s Labours Lost, Anything Goes, Design for Living, Betrayal (West End and UK Tour), The Fight for Barbara and As You Like It (Peter Hall Company at the Theatre Royal, Bath). He designs regularly for the Chichester Festival.