Last Saturday, I attended a workshop on Set Design given by Rosanna Vize, Designer for the current show Diary of a Madman. As the Director of a new theatre company, I was hoping to pick up some tips and do a bit of networking with Designers! Rosanna was a witty and articulate speaker, with a conversational style that put everyone at ease early on. She took on us a descriptive journey through her experience of designing, taking questions along the way. It was fascinating to hear about the creative process that led to the development of the Diary of Madman.
One thing she said really resonated with me, about the fact that "Sets need to do a lot of talking" This really got me thinking about a current project I was working on and whether I had really thought deeply enough about the potential for what our set could say, or simply treated it as a backdrop. As a result I have completely changed direction on my ideas! After a break, we were divided into groups and set a practical exercise to devise a set for Chekhov's The Seagull. This, for me, was the most stimulating part of the whole workshop because it challenged you to use your ingenuity and collaborate with other people, in coming up with a design.
A lady in my group kickstarted the flow of ideas by suggesting that we go with a site-specific modern set and we all started riffing on this concept, with talk of smashed mobile-phone screens as a scintillating lake and stumps of trees left by urban building sites to act as chairs. We then fed back our ideas and it was interesting to hear very different takes on the same scene. Overall I found the workshop enjoyable and thought-provoking, and I'll definitely be looking out for more.
By Catriona Clancy