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|SIGNED 1973 Eric Briers ink & watercolour Gothic Dream Painting Opera figures Eric Briers Newcastle set designer, whose clients ranged from Northern Opera to Coronation Street The late Eric Briers, also an artist and occasional actor, was well-known in the region, especially during the 23 years he designed for the opera company. He also designed for Coronation Street creating Annie Walkers bedroom in the Rovers Return when the soap operas production transferred to Tyne Tees Studios in Newcastle city centre during rebuilding work at Granada tv. The Picture is the sort of material which could well have appeal to a local museum, Eric Briers was born in Rochdale in 1928. It was while working as an apprentice with Burton the Tailors that his artistic abilities were first recognised. He was encouraged by his regional manager to leave and go to art college, where he studied at Rochdale and Manchester Schools of Art. After national service in the RAF, he joined Barrow-in-Furness Repertory Theatre and went on to join others, including Woolwich, Bath and Bolton Reps. Over the years, he gained experience not only in set nd costume design, but acting as well. But it was set and stage design which was to prove the focus of his life. While with Bolton Rep in the early 1960s, he was contacted by Tyne Tees Television and this brought about his move north. Initially, he worked for Tyne Tees as a set designer, then until his retirement in 1985 as head of design, designing sets for such programmes as the One Oclock Show, Super Troupers, and the Epilogue. But it was the set and costume designs he created when he became involved with Northern Opera which held an important place in the citys cultural history that have won him the most praise. His set designs, won high praise in the national and local Press and were used for productions by other opera companies in Britain and even as far afield as New Zealand. For 50 years, Northern Opera was based in Newcastle and for 23 of those years the complex and magnificent sets were designed by Eric. The final two operas he designed were The Bartered Bride, in 1967, and the ever popular opera Carmen the following year, starring a young Kiri Te Kanawa. As a form of relaxation, away from the busy world of design, Eric would paint in oils and watercolours. He also acted and his final role was as Cardinal Camillo in The Cenci the 1819 play being Percy Bysshe Shelleys first attempt at writing drama performed at the Peoples Theatre, Newcastle, in 2001. Eric died in October 2002, in Fawdon.|