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Insights from Scenic Designer Tim Nottage

March 10, 2014

Setting the Stage…

Plays by Young Writers opened last week and runs through March 16, 2014.  The work of the young playwrights has been dutifully studied and interpreted by a talented design team. Each designer has worked diligently to assure the playwrights’ messages are communicated to the audience, not only in words, but through sets, sounds, costumes and props.  Tim Nottage returns as our scenic designer for his second year of the festival.  In this interview, Tim provides insight into his philosophies and processes.


Scenic Designer, Tim Nottage, presents imagery to help convey his concepts for the scenic design for Plays by Young Writers.


Tim Nottage engages in conversation about the scenic design at a Production Meeting.

What’s your vision for this year’s plays in terms of themes that connect the various plays? I hear that one of your concepts is that of a labyrinth – can you explain how that ties into some of the pieces?

In my opinion, all of the plays in this year’s festival have protagonists being challenged by a personal journey and a moment of anagnorisis, of recognition of the truth in themselves or in their situation. A labyrinth has been used in many forms throughout history by cultures the world over as a symbol of a journey or for meditation and self-reflection. The White Theatre at The Old Globe is “in the round” and gives us a unique opportunity to explore how circular spaces can guide a play. My intention is to incorporate the labyrinth in my scenic design, taking the form of layers and circular motion, and encouraging character pathways. The labyrinth concept serves as an inspiration to my design, rather than a literal manifestation of the space.

 How are you incorporating The Old Globe’s suburbia style set of Bethany into the Plays by Young Writers festival?

The set for Bethany at The Old Globe has great structure; it uses a variety of levels to separate the space, and utilizes the many entrances and exits in the White Theatre. Unfortunately, only one of our plays takes place in suburbia, so the rest of them have a different set of requirements in terms of furniture and finished surfaces, so we’re really going to strip it down to it’s essentials. Sadly, none of our plays take place at a Saturn car dealership, either.

 What do you think the young playwrights will learn from this opportunity to see their play produced?

I hope that our young playwrights see the world they envisioned in their head brought to life. Also, there are technical requirements and physical restrictions to theatre, like costume and scenery changes. Rather than constrain, I am confident that these problems will stimulate create thinking and problem-solving by the playwrights, and that they will learn how every word they write carries a power: the power to inspire not just audiences, but other artists. Scenic design paints a mural with the words of the play as it’s palette; I love being a designer because of the incredible poetry I’m given to paint with.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 18, 2014 11:41 PM

    Muchas gracias por esta información, la verdad que es bueno conseguir paginas como esta, ahora mismo iniciaré un proyecto del cual este tema me va como anillo al dedo.

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