When we came together to interrogate how we might stage this story of collective action it was clear that our job was––somehow, to conduct a seance and bring back to life the recorded history of Manchester’s radical past.
It was clear from the research and development process, that Pete Malkin’s sound design would be heavily used to summon up the horrifying chaos of the industrialisation of the north west. So scenography then, had to work on a differing axis. Manchester’s Royal exchange is a wildly intimate space––if not idiosyncratic with it’s ever present architecture.
This story, of here ––[some of the story takes place in the very room that the theatre stands within] , and now ––[a story of the profit over people is achingly relevant in the era of zero-hour contracts and the burgeoning new technological revolution]––and of then ––1812… belongs to the people of Manchester, so it was important for us to instil some sense of an inbuilt acknowledgement , a sense of democracy in space. A collective gathering to summon the ghosts of yesterday.
The red wedge was our attempt to provide a sense of violence, danger and sheer bombastic intervention––Just like the mechanisation of weaving would have felt to the small groups of artisan weavers throughout Lancashire and beyond.
Inspired by a question of what the landed gentry might look like today,
we set out on a journey to create a space as gentile and gaudy at that of the
first victorian geologists and palaeontologists.
Inspired by the tacky homes of the mega-rich and beguiled by the odd calmness
of funeral homes and crematoriums—we were interested in creating a playful space
to hold an epic story of humanity trying to come to terms with their place in a world
millions of years old.
In our second co-design, Naomi and I set out on a journey of creating some sort of monolithic monument to brutalism without succumbing to the sexy and visually overwhelming world of concrete-loving. Carving out a space to tell an intergenerational story of working class desire, hope, dreaming, and failure in relation to where we choose to call home.
Strindberg's epic play 'A Dream Play' is reimagined in a new contemporary devised production. I co-designed this production with
Naomi Kuyck-Cohen, in an attempt to explore what happens when you remove the boundaries in design roles.
We enjoyed a long process of interrogation with director Sarah Bedi before the production was taken into rehearsals. It was imperative for us that the visual design of Dreamplay didn't distract too far from the extremely vibrant talents of the playful and energetic cast.
Working to embrace the cavernous, characterful and sometimes absurd Vaults we set about a language of directness and simplicity.
A special thanks to: Sparks, Hampstead Theatre & Arcola Theatre.
Playful, funny, eloquent and emotionally devastating. It's the closest I've ever got to my pipe dream
of work that plays with form and theatricality and still allows room
for heart-clenching emotional honesty.