18 April 2016 • Gate Theatre
Catching up with Design Assistant Bex Kemp
1. How did you become interested in designing for theatre?
I was always interested in all art forms and spent quite a long time wanting to be a film director. Theatre design really clicked for me when I started to explore installation art during my A-levels. At a similar time I saw The Good Soul of Szechuan at the Young Vic designed by Miriam Buether and I suddenly became aware of the relationship of an audience with space and how you can manipulate objects to get different responses.
2. How did you work with the Designer, Cecile, to realise the design for The Iphigenia Quartet?
Most of the work so far has been sourcing props and costumes. Because the The Iphigenia Quartet is four plays there is quite a large amount of stuff to get hold of in a short amount of time. Our approach has been to divide and conquer, then meet up every few days for a catch-up. I've spent a bit of time in rehearsals and in production meetings, representing Cécile while she was away. We had a pretty full on fittings morning on Thursday where we fitted an actor each at the same time, it was manic but fun!
3. What’s the most exciting and challenging thing about being a designer?
The most exciting thing about being a designer is that every project is different. You spend an intense few weeks with the same people and create your little theatre family and then head onto your next project. If you form a great creative relationship the hope is that you will work together again in the future. The challenges often vary from show to show, sometimes the text is difficult, sometimes it's the people you're working with. There will always be a limitation of space or budget but it's about finding creative solutions while still telling the story. For me the overwhelming challenge at this stage of my career is how to support myself financially, living and working in such an expensive city - but that's the boring answer!
4. What play/musical/film/tv show would you love to design for?
So many! The costumes on Game of Thrones are AMAZING! Anything Lucy Prebble writes. I'd love to design for Headlong and Complicite. When I interviewed for drama school I said I'd love to design the stage version of Moulin Rouge, that's not something I'd turn down! I'm actually really excited to be working on The Iphigenia Quartet because I've been dying to design a Greek play ever since seeing Medea at the National Theatre, so I'm half way there.
5. What’s the best advice you can give to someone who wants to get into designing for the stage?
Keep going. Do as much free work as you can when you're studying, after you graduate become more selective. Don't expect opportunities to fall into your lap. Take risks. Work hard.
Don't miss The Iphigenia Quartet at the Gate Theatre, 23rd April - 21st May.