Support us
Close nav

Interview with Georgia Lowe

Can you tell us a bit about your background and how you came to be involved in this production of Othello?
I got into theatre through performing, I always wanted to act. However, a degree in Drama at Exeter University opened my eyes to other opportunities and I began to direct, write and, unknowingly at the time, design. I made solo performances in old buildings and became fascinated by bodies in space, light and atmosphere. I got my first design job whilst waitressing in my local restaurant; a musical version of A Clockwork Orange. I then trained on the Motley Theatre Design course and went directly to a yearlong design assistant role at the RSC.

What does your role as designer entail and how do you work with the rest of the creative team?
Initially I do a lot of reading and thinking, both about the play/text and also more widely. Meetings with the director then move onto concept discussions – how we want to stage it, what configuration of audience (if this is relevant) and wider decisions about the space. Instincts play a big part and there are always discussions about how we want an audience to experience the piece. I like to start working inside a 3D modelbox relatively quickly – playing with shapes/proportions/architecture. It’s lovely to have the wider creative team present for meetings from the beginning of the process but this isn’t always possible. As soon as they are involved I love to bounce ideas around – sound designers/composers/lighting designers and choreographers are integral to completing the vision and assisting with making the design and space work from all angles. Collaboration is key.

The production is set in the modern day, how have you approached the combination of Shakespeare and the contemporary world in your design?
I think it’s so important that Shakespeare and other classic texts can reach out and speak to modern day audiences. We shied away from realistic depictions of military uniform and so have designed something more ambiguous. We have also stripped away many of the naturalistic trappings of Shakespeare- we are seeing this Othello in it’s barest form and I think by doing this we retain the essence and energy of the play without getting dragged down by too many modern day props/weapons/other references. Othello is so relevant and poignant right now – it can withstand the modernisation and in fact, in my opinion, grows stronger for it.

You designed the original production at Tobacco Factory Theatre, what kind of changes have taken place to the design for the touring production?
The Tobacco Factory is an in-the-round theatre and designing for end-on is a very different creative exercise. The main elements of the original design still exist, but have been reincarnated to fill and shape the space differently. The strip lighting for instance was inspired by the Tobacco Factory which has a number of pillars in the space – we used strip lights on these in the original design and so they became something we explored further this time round. The main difference here is theres A LOT more lights!

Touring offers a unique opportunity for a vast variety of audiences across the UK to experience the production, what do you hope they will take away from the show?
It’s fantastic that this production can reach a wider audience, and I mainly hope that people come away from this having understood and connected to it. It would be great for audiences to engage with the characters and themes in a fresh way and come away excited and moved by the play.

What advice would you share with someone hoping to start a career as a theatre designer?
See as much theatre/dance/performance and art as you can. Find directors/companies/other designers and artists that you admire and write to them – try to meet people and make connections. Always be front footed and brave – have opinions and don’t be scared to share them (at the right moment).