Industry Insiders: Top Tips from a Theatre Designer
Welcome to the first in our Industry Insiders: Top Tips from Industry Professionals series.
Here at The Courtyard we’re so fortunate to be surrounded by incredibly talented people who specialise in a diverse range of disciplines. From set designers, directors, technical operators and performers to musicians, writers, choreographers and teachers – we approached some of the fantastic practitioners that we work with to share their top tips for people who are looking to succeed in the arts industry.
First up, let us introduce you to Carl Davies.
Originally from Bromyard, Carl’s training and development into theatre started in the Conquest Youth theatre.
Having developed an interest in theatre and scenic painting, he decided to check out “the city” so he enrolled on to the Art and Design course at Hereford College of Arts.
“I was lucky enough to have met the amazing Jane Farrington who was an arts tutor on my course, Jane guided me forward in to the world that was so unknown to me – Theatre Design – who knew this was a course?!”
With the help of Jane, Carl enrolled on a course in Theatre Design at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Since graduating, Carl has worked with a number of theatre companies and has designed hundreds of shows including A Brave Face for Vamos Theatre, Come Back Tomorrow for National Theatre Wales, The Dreaming for Lichfield Garrick and Great Expectations for The Courtyard.
Here Carl shares his Top Tips from the point of view of a theatre designer.
1: BE CREATIVE
Be creative at all times, even when looking at things in day to day life and note down your ideas.
2: TAKE PICTURES
Take as many pictures as possible. One day they might come in handy when talking through ideas, it’s good to have a reference at hand.
3: TALK IT THROUGH
Always look and ask others for ideas or opinions because someone else may have a better solution to a design or a problem. It doesn’t mean you have to use it, but it’s always good to get someone else’s perspective and talk things through.
4: COLLECT THINGS
Collect props, clothing (costume) and objects when you see something interesting, especially if it’s cheap/free. Sometimes things are hard to find when designing a show and it’s good to have a collection as a backup.
5: REUSE AND RECYCLE
Try and recycle as much set and props as possible. Never throw a good thing out as it will more than likely appear in a design again.
6: BE OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Feel free to be open with ideas when talking about design, even if you feel like it’s a rubbish thought. It may be the perfect answer or may enhance someone else’s idea.
7: LEND A HAND
If you’re working on a show and you sense someone needs a hand, always offer your assistance. Not only will this help them at the time but they may be able to return the favour when you need a helping hand.
8: HAVE CONFIDENCE IN YOUR IDEA
Stay true to your design, but always consider that designs may change and you might have to let some things you like or really want go. Make sure you state your opinion of why it’s needed but be ready and open for things to change. Working on a show is about compromising and problem solving.
9: MAKE LISTS
Make lists and always have backups of costumes ideas. Most of the time designs evolve as the rehearsal period develops. It’s always good to have options that you can pull out if needed.
10: DO YOUR RESEARCH
Do as much research into the project as possible and make a mood board. This will give you a place to go to when explaining ideas.
Follow your dreams and stick in there! Now more than ever, the world needs creative people to keep doing what we are doing! Use this time find yourself, be yourself and make others happy with your ideas and creative mind.