In May 2017, brand new production Out of This World is coming to Gulbenkian, Canterbury. The production has been commissioned by ART31 and created by acclaimed writer and director Mark Murphy. Set within a world of projected film and animation, Out of This World combines his signature mix of ground breaking aerial choreography, explosive special effects and emotionally raw storytelling in a show that is both intense psychological thriller and heart-rending medical drama.
Following on from our interview with Mark Murphy about creating the show, check out the second interview in the series with co-designer (set) and costume designer for the show, Becky Minto, below.
What is your role in Out Of This World?
The Designer, realising and collaborating to create Mark’s vision for the set and costumes for the production.
What has led you to this point?
I have worked as stage designer for over 15 years and have collaborated with Mark on many previous productions both in the theatre and in outdoor site-specific locations.
Where did you study/train?
I trained in Theatre Design at The Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff.
Who else have you worked with?
Designs for other companies include National Theatre Scotland, The Royal Lyceum, Visible Fictions, Vanishing Point, Pitlochry Festival Theatre, Dundee Rep, Lung Ha, Upswing, Perth Rep, 7:84, Walk The Plank and The Citizen’s Theatre. I have designed a wide range of productions for main-house and touring productions, aerial and dance performances and site-specific and large outdoor events. I was also Associate Designer for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the Glasgow 2104 Commonwealth Games.
Why are you excited about working on Out Of This World?
I really love working with Mark as he allows the creativity of the design and the connection with how the set and the costumes work to collaborate as one unit. They are all integral elements to the storytelling of the piece. The team of people working on the show are all exciting artists in their own right and together it makes for an exciting collaboration.
What do you think will be one of the main challenges of this process?
I think the main challenge will be combining the aerial aspects of the piece and the technical elements that will make the show exciting and surprising for the audience.
What do you think will be one of the key highlights of this process?
I think collaborating with all the artists involved, in development and rehearsals when the direction, movement, aerial, musical composition and lighting design all develop and come together will be very exciting.
Who have been the most influential people in your career so far, and why?
I think working with other artists/companies that have pushed me and opened my eyes to the possibilities of design in all aspects of theatrical staging which has then developed my work as a designer. There are too many to name, but certainly working with Mark Murphy on large scale outdoor events opened my eyes to a world of new and exciting possibilities. I have been lucky to work with some amazing theatre companies and directors over the years and with each one you come away with new skills that further your approach to design.
What live productions have inspired you most, and why?
I went to see a production of Dracula by Northern Ballet many years ago and I was struck how magical the storytelling was, even without words. I guess that has been a real inspiration to me, the ability and strength a theatrical design can be.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to pursue a similar career to yours?
Try and see as much varying types of theatre that you can to open your mind to the possibility of theatre design. Be inspired by any type of art form as the ignition for an idea for set and costume design. Aim to study a course that will fulfil your training and try to get work experience wherever you can to give you a real sense of this magical world.
All interviews are credited to Hannah Osmond, and can also be found, along with more behind-the-scenes information, in the Out Of This World resource pack here.
Catch Out of This World at Gulbenkian, Canterbury, on Friday 5 May at 7.30pm. Tickets are £12.50 full, £8.50 for students.
Out of This World has been commissioned by Macrobert Arts Centre, Sadler’s Wells London, Dance Touring Partnership, ART31 KENT, Warwick Arts Centre and Triggered at Warwick. Supported by Cold Mountain Kit, Bluman Associates, tube, Cuerda Producciones, All or Nothing and Beaconhurst School. Funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Creative Scotland, and the Jerwood Charitable Foundation.