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Students gain valuable experience working on Nottingham's Theatre Royal anniversary production

Costume Design and Making and Theatre Design students have worked on a collaborative project to create original costumes, as well as supervise and dress backstage for the Theatre Royal's 150th birthday celebratory production, The School for Scandal.

BA (Hons) Costume Design and Making and BA (Hons) Theatre Design students have had an amazing opportunity to create original costume designs and make them, as well as supervising and dressing backstage for the recent Theatre Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham’s 150th birthday celebratory production of The School for Scandal.

Production Director, David Longford, visited NTU to introduce the collaborative project to Year One and Two students and staff from Costume Design and Making and Theatre Design course areas earlier this year.

The students were tasked with designing costumes to suit the promenade production of The School for Scandal, which was the first ever play to be performed at the Theatre Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham 150 years ago.

David later returned to NTU and selected designs by students that would go on to be made and used in the production, which took place in September 2015.

In total, 20 NTU students and a number of staff were involved in the production. Designs by a team of students including Isobel Hollis and Rohanna Coulthard were selected and made, as well as a costume created by Amy Shaw who graduated from the course in 2014. Theatre Design students supervised and organised the hire of a number of other costumes used in the production.

Course Leader for Costume Design and Making, Karen Bartlett told us: "This was a full year of organisation and practical work, with more than 20 cross-discipline students volunteering to take part and many of the characterful period coats and dresses were made by a single costume student, Isobel Hollis, who had offered to take responsibility across the summer."

Isobel, who had ten designs selected and made, and worked backstage at the production, also put together an exhibition of the costumes from the production as part of the backstage tours of the Theatre. She told us: "For this I made wooden 2D people for the costumes to be displayed on and I dressed and set up the display. This was really exciting as on 25 September, which was the first open day and the actual birthday of the Theatre, Prince Edward visited the Theatre and therefore saw all our work!

"It was such a good experience to have and it's helped me to get a better understanding of how costume works. I've also gained the skills to cope with the stress of a realised performance, and negotiating and working with a director. This will definitely help me as I go into my final year of study."

Eight NTU students volunteered to work backstage at the shows, dressing the actors and making any repairs to the costumes, as well as doing the laundry. 

David said: "From my point of view all of the students were superb – very professional behind-the-scenes and just great fun to be with."

Year One student Emma Wright told us: "I had a fantastic week with lovely people creating such a special show. I had many amazing new experiences that I will remember forever."

Reader and Lecturer in Theatre Design at NTU, Kate Burnett told us: "It was quite an achievement in all sorts of ways. Karen Bartlett, Anne Curry and I are very proud of the students and how they have managed, out of term time, to work together, get the costumes ready, but also to run the shows, look after the actors, do all the maintenance and then the get-out and clearing up so efficiently and cheerily!"

Students gain valuable experience working on Nottingham's Theatre Royal anniversary production

Published on 9 October 2015
  • Category: School of Art & Design

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