Breaking the Space is a mini project that we have been given to help us get into our model boxes. This project is designed to force us to not be too precious with design, and to get to grips with the size of the Nottingham Playhouse stage.

We were asked to bring in a few objects from home, or ones we had found out and about. We were then asked to put these into the model box and to try to create conceptual responses to key moments in Hamlet with them.

We have been given 5 key moments as starting points: Elinsore Castle, Gun Terrace, Graveyard, Gertrude’s Chamber, Ophelia’s madness.

Initially I was thinking about Ophelia’s madness whilst playing around with ivy and twigs in the space. I figured she was a more natural character, one with a lot of innocence driven mad by her fathers passing. She drowns herself at the end of her story, this got me thinking about bringing some sort of luming presence into the model box. I found a blue pillow case that I played around with for this. I found I could use the pillow case in various different ways to create different places and effects. It helped me to create the room at Elinsore by falling, hinting at a wall. This created a more claustrophobic feel in the set, this could be argued to mirror how Hamlet feels in his own life.


The first task that we got after coming back from easter was to create a video that depicts the key characteristics of one of the 9 main characters. We were split into small groups to complete this task. The group that I was put into were given Horatio as our character.


Loyalty, strength, swordsmanship, moral, quiet.

Above I have listed the main characteristics we decided applied to Horatio. We also wanted to play on the fact that Shakespeare hints at the questionable side of his sexuality. We decided to create a soliloquy written about his love for hamlet that also exposes his key qualities.

The soliloquy:

Hamlet offers his arm to Ophelia, which she takes with a sly smile. He whispers sweetly in her ear and the two proceed to walk towards the gardens of the estate. All the while Horatio watches from the gun terrace, somber and pensive. Pacing back and forth he deliberates to himself the differences between his own relationship with Hamlet, and that of Ophelia’s.


“Does me think he holds her more dearly than I?

Her petal like hands held so delicately within his palm,

this master swordsman turned gentle creature?

My sorrow clashes with gratitude,

For she was able to tame his wilds

And rid him of his anguished heart.


How was it this mouse was able to free the lion;

Caged for so long after the king’s demise?

It harrows me with fear and wonder.

This delicate youth may prove to be to him what I cannot.

Her nature though wistful,

Bears the strength of the Mother all encompassing.

And so shall she be better matched than I?

But she lacks the sword that fits his sheath.


Horatio gazes towards the couple as Hamlet places his hand on the small of Ophelia’s back. She leans into his breast, he plants a feathered kiss onto her flushed cheek.


Rumors from weary soldiers

Tell the tale of a resurrected soul.

Clad in the king’s armour

I pray the mischievous mind of thine Hamlet

Bid this gossip to rest.

I beg him to relinquish these dark thoughts of revenge,

For it will be his ruin,

My ruin also.


I shall confront this demon myself,

If nothing but to save Hamlet’s tortured mind.

To bear the brute of hell is a small price

To save Denmark’s future king.


Thine unquestionable loyalty remains with Hamlet;

Thy fruit forbidden.

Eve was tempted by deceiving apples,

Yet to stay true to thine prince

I must remain unpeeled.

Revenge could cause his core to rot,

And send him to hells gates.

Although this sour act is ungodly,

I am bound to him who commits it.”


The day grows old, Hamlet bids Ophelia good night. He plants a sweet kiss upon her lips, before she pulls away and skips toward the castle. Hamlet remains a while, his hair caught in the wind, a smirk claims his face before he follows her to the castle’s front entrance. Horatio remains thoughtful before sighing, releasing his essence into the breeze and wandering along the gun terrace enering the prince’s castle through the rear.



For this project we are designing for the Nottingham Playhouse main stage. We took a visit to the stage so that we could photograph it, and get a real idea for the site lines of the stage. The playhouse is a more modern design for a theatre. The auditorium is circular and so there are a lot of ‘cheap seats’ located on the sides that have a slightly obstructed view from the pross.

Another obstructive feature of the theatre is the large circular structure with extra bars that hangs in front of the stage, this means that the height of any set needs to be seriously considered, to make sure that the people sitting at the very back and top get the full effect. The Juliet’s of the stage also offer 2 entrances/ exists on different levels, this is an interesting thing to know as a really simple way of adding levels could be achieved this way.

Going on this site visit has definitely helped me when considering designing, as it allows me to consider the practicality of the design, and how to make sure that all the audience gets the best experience they can. I was able to discover that a design would have to contain a perspective point/ vanishing point.

Nottingham Playhouse Seating Plan:

nottingham playhouse seating plan

Stage Left Circle:                                Centre Back Circle:                    Stage Right Circle:

Centre Back Stalls:                             Stage Right Stalls:

Images taken on stage and of the stage:



My first year at uni will be concluded by the project of ‘Hamlet’. For this project we have been asked to create a full set of costume designs for the 9 main characters, and a set design for the entirety of the show. The designs have to be relatable to the modern society. We have been asked to apply the main themes and issues into every day modern life, or look at the script conceptually and create something timeless.

Hamlet, as with any shakespeare play, is over flowing with themes and ideas that can be easily relatable to modern life; of course they are probably more exaggerated. The family life within the play is messed up, we are shown incestuous family units, and more conventional ones. This, as an example, can be applied to modern day life; looking at divorce within modern families and how this effects the children etc. There are a lot more themes, like this one, to experiment with.

I love the idea of striping the play down to the themes rather than playing on the literal ideas of monarchy and castles etc. I would like to explore this idea further and research what has already been done.


This week we had a professional scenic artist visit us. She came to conduct a week dedicated to teaching us the basics of her profession. She talked us through what she did and showed us previous projects that she had completed. It was interesting to be told the exact tasks that fall underneath the job title ‘scenic artist’.

We were presented with a small model box that consisted of a large brick wall and two large painted canvases on a similar scale. This was to be what we would have to construct over the course of the week. Each person on the course would finish the week with a small section of the brick wall and a section of one of the canvases painted accurately.


Model box of the weeks tasks


To begin the construction of the final jerkin I had to cut all the pattern pieces out of the top fabric (wool) and the lining fabric. To each of these pattern pieces I also had to add seam allowances of an inch. This meant I had to measure an inch round every piece on both fabrics.

Once all of the pattern pieces had been cut out of the material the construction could begin. Joining all of the wooden pattern pieces together was a fairly straight forward task due to the experience that I already had from previous studies. All of the seams literally had to be joined using simple straight stick, pretty standard. To complete this I pinned and tacked all of the pieces together then sewed them along the seam allowance line.

When moving onto sewing the lining together, it began to get a little more complicated. I begun by sewing the 3 top pieces together the same way as I did with the wool. I then had to sew the 3 skirt panels together separately as well.

The next step was to attach the lining to the top fabric. I did this using both the sewing machines and hand stitching. I found it very difficult to attach the armholes to the lining as it required a lot of awkward sewing and twisting and turning of the fabric. I am, however, pleased with the finish on the arm holes. It was important to remember to snip the seams between the wool and the lining in order to get a sharp seam when the garment is worn.

Final jerkin

The last step of constructing my medieval jerkin was to add in a fastening. The historical fastenings for this garment were made up of 4 eyelets and string. There were 2 eyelids on either side of the garments opening. To do this we made holes in the material and then used a button hole stitch to make sure they maintained their shape, and didn’t fray.


The next step in creating our medieval jerkins, was to cut materials using our pattern pieces. For fitting purposes we decided to make a toile first. This means constructing the garment using cheaper materials, such as calico, in order to check it fits the model correctly. I personally was thankful for the decision to do this, as I have never been very good at fitting garments to models.

To create our toile we cut each pattern piece out in calico and tacked it together making sure to match all the seems. By doing this I was able to iron out all the fitting issues that I had. I put the toile onto my model inside out, this allowed me to get at the seems easily. The toile highlighted the fact that my skirt wasn’t quite right. It was not flared enough to fit in with the time period. I had to alter this by cutting slits and filling them with more material.

Another element of the garment that needed attention was the arm holes. We pattern cut our arm holes to the basic block, therefore the shape was not accurate to a jerkin. To rectify this I had to shorten the width of the arm holes and increase the length. This meant that the shoulder seem ended in the correct place and allowed for increased movement within the garment.

The alterations that I made to the toile then had to be translated into the pattern. I had to re lay each of the pieces onto my pattern and use carbon paper to draw on the new lines. I found this process a little stressful and confusing, as it was really important for each side of the pattern to match.

Toile | side view | back view | front view

Now that the pattern has been modified and completed I can begin to cut out the material intended for the jerkin.


To begin the second term of my first year on the NTU Theatre Design course, we have been given a costume based project. The project is based upon excerpts of The Canterbury Tales. We have been given an option of designing for 12 characters which range from Lucifer, to an Elf Queen, To a beautiful young maiden, To a sexy old woman. The range of characters we have been given is vast and therefore allows us to look at combining more fantastical characters with ordinary ones.

We have been instructed to chose 6 of the 12 characters to design for.


Another technical skill that we have been learning as part of the course is autoCAD drawing. AutoCAD allows us to create accurate to scale drawings of our designs, and the spaces they will be featured in. AutoCAD is also a useful tool when it comes to combing lighting design and set design on one sheet. It allows the design to be shown as a whole with the option of removing layers.

We begun by learning the key tools etc on the program, and then went onto drawing out a floor plan and section of the Waverley studio theatre. We added dimensions onto these drawings in a separate colour as well.



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Once I finished my model box I decided that it would be important to light the model box just to show my plan for the colouring. I haven’t yet got round to photograph it as the scenes take place, but I also think that is an important thing to do.


-Would be used for the court and the prison scene.