Guest Blog: #IrisHG Set Design

One of the best things about launching Hansel & Gretel into the world last week was that we simultaneously could reveal our expansive set, which a crew of very talented set designers and volunteers have been working on around the clock. To find out more about the personalities and action going on behind the scenes this time we have a guest blog from one of our set volunteers, Katie! 

My name is Katie Gregory and I am an English and Drama student at Royal Holloway University. That is where I first learnt about this theatre. My drama lecturer sent me an email saying that I should have a look at Iris Theatre. So I went on to have a look at their website and found out about the amazing volunteer options they had to offer! It made it that much more amazing when I discovered that they needed help making the set for Hansel and Gretel. I’m a sucker for a fairytale, so I jumped at the opportunity to work with the them.

Before this experience I had never tried anything like this. Previously, I would more likely be found performing on stage, rather than making it look good. So this has been eye opening to see just how much work goes into making a set.

So far, I have had an unforgettable experience making props, painting them and getting a lovely covering of paint on myself for good measure. It has been rewarding to see something that you created on the stage. It has made me proud and more confident in what I want to do in the future and what I am capable of. Beforehand, using tools terrified me, why should I be in control of a large electric drill? But I have mastered this irrational fear and have gone on to use a number of ‘scary’ tools to create amazing things.

And to top it all off are the amazing people behind it all. Everyone made me feel so welcomed and comfortable and instantly made it possible for me to do things I enjoy. It has helped me to confirm that I want to have a career in scenic design, particularly focusing on German Expressionism, which is a form of design that originated in Germany during World War Two. The appearance of objects are exaggerated and distorted as part of the style. Unfortunately you see it being used less and less and I would like to change that.

Iris Theatre is an amazing company to be a part of and I cannot wait to continue being covered in paint and seeing our hard work on the stage- the oozing icing that took hours, the painting of the oven, which I am very proud of and the stunning cakes we all created together. Warning, the set may make you hungry!

You can catch more from Katie on her Instagram @kitkatwaddles.