The Epic-Scale Production Pro
Brit Misty Buckley knows how to put others in the spotlight, a feat the acclaimed production designer’s been pulling off for years as the genius behind some of the most memorable live tours, television ceremonies and large-scale events in recent memory. And she has the accolades to prove it. This year alone she was nominated twice for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Production Design for a Variety Special — once for the fantastical Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl and the other for the 95th Academy Awards ceremony. While Misty wows the crowds, A-list musical performers are equally impressed with her talent. She’s worked with everyone from singers Ariana Grande and Elton John to the groups U2 and Take That. The secret to her experiential success designing complicated productions? “I consider the visceral experience of both the performers on stage and those in the room,” she says.
Organizing the 17-month Music of the Spheres Tour for Coldplay was already a daunting challenge, but the band’s directive to make the entire production as sustainable and low-carbon as possible might have felt impossible for even the most talented professional to pull off. Luckily for Coldplay, Misty Buckley isn’t just anyone. The production designer signed on to the project and successfully implemented groundbreaking new ideas — think lightweight, recycled steel staging; biodegradable balloons and confetti; cosmic LED lighting — and the environmentally friendly end result didn’t skimp on spectacle. This past winter Misty was one half of the first female team in history to be commissioned the golden opportunity of creating the stage design for the Oscars ceremony. And late last year she brought her magic to the immersive live-to-film experience Encanto at the Hollywood Bowl.