In the run up to the first performance of our new production "If I Go" we sat down with some of our cast and crew and attempted to find out a little bit about them and what makes them tick! In this edition we meet our very talented Production Designer, Emma Hollows
Q. Tell us a little bit about your background? How did you come to work in the theatre?
A. I've been performing as long as I can remember! My theatre debut was dancing to How Much is That Doggy in the Window aged 4 in a dance revue and I've been singing, dancing and acting ever since. It wasn't until my A Level Textiles teacher was talking to me about career options that I began thinking about combining my design skills with my love of theatre. Once I got to university I joined the theatre society and from there on probably spent more time on my sewing machine or in dressing rooms than doing my degree. Since graduating last summer I have been fortunate enough to work on a number of projects including a tour up the East Coast of USA with The Taming of The Shrew, a pantomime of Cinderella over Christmas and a film series which will be released in the next couple of months.
Q. What are your thoughts on "If I Go"? What appealed to you about the story?
A. What immediately grabbed my attention when reading the script was Matt's perspective on moving to India because I spent seven weeks there myself in 2014 doing research and had some of the same worries going through my mind. I think what I like the most is that the characters are so relatable; the stresses of work, relationships, plans for the future etc. James has managed to do this, delving into inner monologues which will resonate with many audience members, while keeping the play light-hearted and humorous on the whole.
Q. Tell us about the design for the production - what are you hoping to achieve?
A. Picturing the design in my head was easy. We decided to go down the realistic route in terms of set and costume design, and I could immediately picture what Matt and Becky's flat would look like, along with the local pub and Matt's office. The challenge for me has come with creating these distinct locations in a small venue with no wing space or fly tower. I have worked with Aaron, our lighting designer, to assist with this, as well as with David in choreographing scene changes to be transformative and a part of the performance.
Q. Do you have any favourite scenes/lines in the play and has any part of the story influenced the design of the production?
A. Any time Camilla is on stage because she is so funny. I love the relationship between her and Matt because she is so hopeless and yet he some how hasn't given up on her!
Q. How does working in a fringe theatre environment relate to your previous experience? Are there any particular challenges?
A. Fringe theatre is what I am most used to. I like it because there is room for more experimentation which isn't always possible with larger productions because it is marketing to a mass audience. However, the obvious downside is that the budget is smaller and the venue space is often limiting which can be frustrating if you have had a design brainwave but the resources aren't available to make it possible.
Q. If you weren't working in the theatre - what would you be doing instead?
A. Well, aside from my freelance theatre design I also work in crowdfunding, often supporting creative start ups in the film, music or fashion industries, so I would be doing that. Outside of work I play netball and dance.
Q. Tell us something about you which you think people would find surprising!
A. I used to play the steel pans!
Thanks very much to Emma for sitting down for us and answering our questions. We're working "How Much is that Doggy In the Window" into rehearsals as we speak. Emma is our Production Designer for "If I Go" and you can see those sets in action from May 4th - 7th. Tickets on sale now at www.proforca.co.uk. You can find Emma on Twitter @EmmaHollows