New Wimbledon Theatre selects local artist as Assistant Designer

Collaboration between Wimbledon College of Art and Creative Learning at New Wimbledon Theatre opens door for local young artists to gain invaluable theatrical training and experience.

New Wimbledon Theatre’s Stage Experience is a two week summer school style course offering young people (11-18yo) training and experience as professional theatre makers, either as performers or young assistants. Performers work with the Theatre’s professional creative team to train in musical theatre performance and feature as the cast of the production, while Young Assistants gain personalised individual training with the Theatre’s creative team in off stage roles, such as directing and stage management on an actual production.

In April this year, Wimbledon College of Art Theatre Design student, Adam Nee was selected from a group of applicants as the Assistant Designer for the Young Actors Company Spring productions in the Time & Leisure Studio at New Wimbledon Theatre. After completing the Young Actor’s Company productions he was then selected as the designer for Stage Experience Bugsy Malone to further develop his experience. With support from Wimbledon College of Art, Adam has designed and built a detailed, multi-purpose and exciting set with a range of levels, entrances and locations. Adam has worked closely with director, Kate McGregor, to create a dark, but romantic atmosphere with a fun tongue-in-cheek feel. He also designed and sourced all of the costumes in the production, working in great detail to create themes and intricate pieces for every character, from their shoes to their feathered headbands. This is Adam’s first large scale production and his eye for details has resulted in a professional, exciting and unique set and costumes. Adam says,

“It was great to be selected to design Bugsy Malone on the main stage at New Wimbledon Theatre, and a boost to my career in set and costume design. Initially, I assisted on a small Shakespeare season as part of my Masters course in Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Arts, and asked if I would be interested in applying to design for the main summer season show of Bugsy Malone. After showing initial ideas and sketches, I was selected! It has been a wonderful experience to see my designs go from paper to the stage within a few short weeks, the whole stage experience has given me insight to the amount of work and effort which goes on behind the scenes from many departments. It’s crazy to see how many people are involved to get a production on to the stage. Everyone involved, from producers to directors and stage managers to technical support have been extremely supportive and informative in the design process and making my design “happen”. I’m really excited to see the final production and seeing the characters come to life. A whirlwind experience which hopefully will lead to more exciting stage experiences ahead.”

In addition to Adam, Creative Learning has also brought in a team of hair and make-up artists who have just graduated from Delamar Academy. This is their first production as a team in their own right and they are working with Adam to create looks for every character in the production.

A huge part of the Stage Experience is nurturing local talent, not only in the course participants but also in the creative team. All of the cast and young creators come from Merton and the surrounding boroughs. Jessica Williams, Creative Learning Coordinator and Stage Experience Bugsy Malone Producer explains,

“Developing local talent is very important to Creative Learning at New Wimbledon Theatre. Stage Experience is the perfect opportunity for us to work with emerging theatre makers and give them experience in a professional theatre environment.”

Stage Experience Bugsy Malone at New Wimbledon Theatre (25-26 August) is a professional production with a cast of young people, full of emerging talent.

Costume Design sketches by Adam Nee