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The Making of So It Goes: Design

As ‘So It Goes’ is now available online until 29th May 2020, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and show you a little of what went on behind the scenes.

First stop: Set design! We chatted to design extraordinaire Emma Tompkins and found out how she created that stunning and iconic final scene, based on Holkham Bay.

Image 1: Holkham Bay 2014

Image 2: Emma's digital mock up of the Holkham Bay design

Image 3: The final beach design in action. Photo by Richard Davenport

Image 4: An early mock up of the beach design

Emma says...

“The thing that struck me most about the beach was the horizontal lines that seemed to extend forever at Holkham. A flatness that just wandered into the horizon. We also kept noticing the thin wide shallow pools of water that caused the sand to wriggle into these beautiful patterns.

The biggest challenge was taking the width of such a wide open

beautiful place and translating it into a moment that could be made on a stage by Hannah and David in a way that kept the magic but didn't cause the action to lag (something Lecoq training seems to help with in transitions).

I knew the set needed to fit in any sized venue, work with festival storage, and be made with the kind of materials you can afford on a fringe budget. The beach scene is also the pinnacle of the story, one that shows a release of feeling. And the first time colour is released into Hannah's world to coincide.

I found most of our solutions in the usual place designers on the fringe end up, IKEA, B&Q and my local hardware shop. Garden bamboo poles and canvas held together with the classic combination of gaffa tape and cable ties became the back fan, combined with garden parasole bases and cheap wardrobe railings to keep everything upright, in addition to the trademark cardboard.

The whole thing was made in my front room and painted in the garden. I think the stones still have the paint marks! The design was complete with bags of Tesco value flour rapped with black gaffa to act as stage weights to keep the back piece from falling forward! Were nothing if not resourceful!"

Well I think we can all agree that Emma did a fantastic job and that beach was an exceptional finish to the show!

See more of Emma’s design work here.

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