A STEP BACK IN TIME AT THE TORCH
The set construction is now well underway here at the Torch Theatre for the production of Private Lives. The flooring is down, the walls are papered. It won't be long until we can welcome you to see the hilarious show and the beautiful sets designed by Kevin Jenkins.
Kevin is a designer of set and costumes and has been designing for the theatre for 17 years having trained on the Motley Theatre Design Course. He has designed for numerous productions including Constant Companions, Family Album, The Girl Next Door and A Brief History of Women that transferred to 59E59 Theaters in New York. However, this will be his first time designing the stage and costumes at the Torch.
The father of two from Derbyshire has enjoyed his visits to Pembrokeshire and the production of Private Lives has been both interesting and fulfilling as Kevin explains:
“Chelsey, the Artistic Director had a clear vision of what she wanted. The stage is to be a fun interpretation of the period with an art-deco style and that’s exactly what we’ve created.”
Starting a new project is always exciting and challenging but Kevin has thoroughly enjoyed designing the set.
“First I read the script to get to know the production. I’ll analyse it, for example, to work out the number of entrances into the room or to see if there are any specific references to clothing. I’ll then research the period and have lengthy talks with the director,” said Kevin who had never seen a stage production of Private Lives before.
“I’ve watched screen versions of it on YouTube but I do like to get my own insight of it first so as not to be influenced by others. But at the same time, it’s great to see other’s take on it and to get ideas.
“The first act came quite quickly and has a bold statement. Chelsey and I had really good conversations and an informative Pinterest board. We wanted to get this seaside feel, with the balconies, each with a door from a hotel bedroom. The second act took longer to come together partly aiming to find a bold art deco aesthetic whilst acknowledging that, in reality, much of the furniture would be some 20 years older. It was challenging,” explained Kevin who worked closely with the Production Manager, Andy Sturley on the technical points.
Since the Covid pandemic, Kevin now works digitally compared to most theatre designers who use the very traditional process of using models at a scale of 1 to 25.
“During Covid I re-skilled and designing digitally offers advantages. It’s great if I want to change something last minute. The designs can now be sent to anyone and everyone who needs them without having to share the one physical model” explained Kevin.
This week, Kevin will visit the Torch and will work closely with the Wardrobe Supervisor for some last minute touches and to ensure that all the costume fittings go well and that they fit perfectly.
He will then work on the production of Cinderella at the Derby Theatre before returning to the Torch Theatre for the festive pantomime of Beauty and the Beast.
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