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Public Statues and Sculpture Association

John Parkinson (b. 1954)

Sculptor and designer. He attended Leeds College of Art and subsequently trained as a theatre designer at the English National Opera, London. His first job was as assistant designer for the Leeds Playhouse and he then became a freelance designer in northern theatres. The Old Blue Box Theatre at Keswick, now rebuilt as the Theatre on the Lake, brought him to Cumbria, where he also established Upfront, a theatre design business, near Hutton-in-the-Forest, Penrith. Here he created sets for numerous productions, and in 1997, with his wife Elaine, established the Upfront Gallery in a seventeenth-century barn. Here he holds exhibitions of painting, sculpture, ceramics and textiles; administers the annual Cumbrian Artists Open Exhibition; runs a theatre for marionettes; and is the custodian of the Stan Parker puppet collection. His publicly sited commissions include The Border Reiver, 2003, for Reiver Court, Kingstown Road, Carlisle, Cumbria; The Rum Clock for The Rum Story, Whitehaven; and a waterfall installation for Halifax General Hospital.

Bibliography: D.A. Cross, Public Sculpture of Lancashire and Cumbria, Liverpool, 2017, pp. xx, 151–52; Cumbria: (i) January-February 1998, pp. 46–47; (ii) April 2000, pp. 31–34.

David A. Cross, 2017