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Janó Papp was born in 1970 in Szeged, where he also attended school. He developed an early interest in the theatre and theatrical costumes and, after graduating from high school, took on assignments as an assistant to costume designer Tivadar Márk. During this same period, with the backing of costume designer Judit Schäffer, he became a costume assistant at the National Theatre of Szeged in the 1988/89 season. He then joined a group led by József Ruszt that seceded from the Szeged company to form the unaffiliated Independent Stage company, for which he did costume design work in 1989 and 1990. His first major assignment came in the summer of 1990 from the Szeged Open-Air Festival, when he put together the costumes for József Ruszt's production of András Sütő's drama The Susa Weddings using Judit Schäffer's designs. At this point, his primary goals became to teach himself the art of costume design and to discover original tailoring techniques, which he modelled on 50-centimetre-high figures, displaying some of them in solo exhibitions. His exhibition at the 1990 Novus Art Festival in Sopron led to an invitation to design the costumes for a 1991 production of The Grotesque Farce of Mr Punch the Cuckold at Budapest's Katona József Theatre. After this, he would go on to work at nearly every theatre in Budapest and elsewhere in Hungary, as well as to collaborate on several major projects abroad. Since 1998, he has worked as a regular guest at the National Theatre of Szeged and is credited with designing the costumes for more than 85 productions there, including for fairy-tale plays, dramas, ballets and operas. The Szeged audience has voted for him to be presented with the Dömötör Award for best costume designer of the season a total of eight times. By the end of 2011, he had designed more than ten thousand outfits for more than 430 theatrical and film productions.
Janó Papp