Opening up the World of Performance Design at World Stage Design 2017

UK Designers’ collective travels to Taiwan to forge practice-enriching cultural connections.

Following the success of a collective bid for Arts Council England support, a diverse group of theatre designers from boutique agency The Designers Formation will travel to Taipei, Taiwan, to experience international theatre design festival World Stage Design 2017 (1-9th July). In Taipei, the group will join fellow member Cecile Tremolieres, whose work was selected to be exhibited the World Stage Design 2017 exhibition, and whose trip was made possible by the Linbury Trust and the Jerwood Foundation.

Since its launch in 2005, World Stage Design (‘WSD’) has become the biggest theatre design-specific event in the world. Taking place every 4 years in a different country, its aim is to bring the broadest range of theatre design practice together in an intensive week of creative connection. Highlights include exhibitions of over 200 designers’s work, a week-long programme of performances, workshops and lectures by industry leaders – and a worldwide conference organised by global NGO for design, OISTAT (International Organisation of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians). WSD2017 is jointly hosted by Taipei National University of the Arts and Taiwan Association of Theatre Technology, the baton having passed from 2013’s WSD hosted by Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, UK.

Inspired and informed by The Society of British Theatre Designers (‘SBTD’), and industry union Equity, The Designers Formation (‘TDF’) represents a selection of UK-based theatre designers from a broad range of performance disciplines. The group attending WSD2017 work across subsidised and commercial theatre, in repertory, inclusive, educational, live art and more. Many do not get the chance to travel outside Europe as part of their work: Richard Evans, National Theatre Young Designers Network member, said: ‘My work has toured to the Far East, but until now I haven’t had the chance to follow it. I’m looking forward to discovering people and work I wouldn’t normally have access to, and for the experience to enrich the outlook and ambition of my work at home.’ The group of designers will document and share their experiences at the festival and afterwards, through a wide range of methods including drawing, photography, writing, audio, video and social media.

Many designers attribute career-enhancing positive impacts to past WSD experiences, and look forward to continuing that process this year in Taipei. Having developed promenade piece Lost in the Neuron Forest at a WSD 2013 residency, Bread & Goose Theatre Company co-founder Alison Neighbour said that being introduced to theatre design leaders and innovators ‘inspired my practice and gave me the confidence to carry on and to develop new projects. It’s fascinating to see the diverse creations of designers from across the world, and a privilege to be able to bring a little of that inspiration back to the UK’.

The trip to WSD 2017, and subsequent sharing activity, marks TDF’s first Grants for the Arts award. Laura Sampson, TDF co-ordinator and producer of annual performance workshop Noh Training Project UK, said: ‘It’s so encouraging that support still exists for creative development through the culturally diverse sharing of practice.’

The designers will be sharing their experiences live at the DESTINATIONS festival at Barge House, London, in late July and in various places online and off, over the summer.

World Stage Design 2017 runs from 1-9th July. For regular updates, join the TDF mailing list, or follow on Twitter (@tdfdesigners) or Facebook (@designersformation).

Contact: Laura Sampson / / 07786987486

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