NTU Theatre Students creative vision for Soonchild: Tuesday 13th November 2018

Red Earth is working with Nottingham Trent University’s Year 2 Theatre Studies students to devise and develop concepts for the visual and puppetry elements of Autumn 2019 show ‘Soonchild’ – based on the book of the same name by Russell and originally illustrated by Alexis Deacon.

Under the guidance of Sean Myatt, Red Earth regular and genius of contemporary puppet making and object theatre (also Senior Lecturer at NTU) the students will design, make and explore elements of the book within the parameters and restrictions of a ‘real-life’ performance.

Research, play and theory from the students journey will be used to educate and inspire the next phase of development which the performance team will evolve into the final show. Tuesday’s session saw the move from theory to creative play, with ideas evolving from paper-based concepts to untamed practical exploration. Exciting themes of native Inuit heritage and culture crowded sketch books and provided the basis for many of the initial designs.

“We thought the book was really cool, but really abstract and quite different…” Katy Stevenson; Student

Joining Sean and the students were Red Earth Co-Artistic Director Amanda Wildes and Producer / Lighting Designer Alex Stafford-Marshall. The students – separated into 3 working teams – explored the effect of light direction, texture and reflection, with single and multiple light sources. As exploration often leads to creation, characters from the book including Sixteen Face John, Arnak Amarok the She-Wolf and the Old Raven were brought to life from the basic tools of card, light, repurposed objects and of course the human form.

“We did a lot of playing on the floor with fabric and tinfoil to explore what the world could look like.” Charlotte Selby; Student

The results were fascinating with each group providing a unique interpretation of the text, detailed below are just a few snippets of the work so far…

The next challenge for the teams is the incorporation of captioning which is not only practical but also plays an integral part in the imagery and visual concept of the show – we can’t wait to see what they come up with!