Carl Toms OBE was one of the biggest names in theatre, opera, cinema and ballet of his generation and he was born right here in Ashfield.
Toms was one of the most sought-after and successful designers in the industry, working in Britain, Austria and the United States during a career spanning some 50 years.
Toms was renowned as one of the best in his field and this was backed up by multiple awards; winning a Tony Award for Best Scenic Design, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design and a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Set Design.
His life started in humbler circumstances when he was born above a tailor shop on Kingsway, Kirkby in Ashfield before attending Diamond Avenue Boys School.
In 1965 in his home town of Kirkby, the final film to be shown at the Regent Cinema, now Wetherspoons, was ‘SHE’ which happened to be the very first that Toms worked on as costume designer for Ursula Andress.
Amongst many other achievements, Toms also decorated the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden for the Royal Gala; designed a tankard for the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana; and refurbished the Cambridge Theatre in London.
In recognition of his accomplishments, he received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1969 Honours. He died aged 72 at his home in Hertfordshire in 1999.
Ashfield District Council awarded £250 of funding to Kirkby Living Memory to help fund the research project in November 2017, as agreed by Kirkby Councillors.
Councillor Rachel Madden, who also contributed from her local members grant, said: “We are proud to have supported this event as it is important that we recognise and acknowledge our cultural history here in Ashfield. Our residents can be proud of people such as Carl Toms who have made such an impact in their field around the world”.
“It is fantastic that local historians such as Trevor and the Kirkby Living Memory Group can share stories such as this and reveal the fascinating past of our district.”