The Society of British Theatre Designers actively promotes, creates awareness of the off-stage role of the Set and Costume Designer through exhibitions, Roundtable events, workshops (including online) and mentoring schemes to open discussions, be more visible and actively engage those within the industry and with those outside.
As a registered charity, we have a responsibility to share and celebrate our work with the public. We do this via our exhibitions which take place every four years to coincide with the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.
Staging Places, our most recent exhibition, celebrates the diversity of performance designs made locally, nationally and internationally by designers based throughout the UK across a wide range of spaces and genres. It shares behind-the-scenes processes via set models, costumes, props, photos, drawings and videos and acknowledges the impact of designers’ work on a wider sense of place-making and community. During this residency at the V&A, SBTD ran a series of Roundtable events to hear from a diverse range of practitioners across the sector, gauging interest in key topics in order to restructure the organisation from ‘the ground up’ to inform how we move forward with an increased sense of collective ownership.
With this, SBTD has implemented an Equal Opportunities survey to gauge the demographic of designers we were reaching. There were six free bursaries offered in order to remove this barrier to participate due to lack of income. Designers were able to choose to make their whole submission by video or audio if they wished in the event writing was a barrier in making a submission.
Staging Places represented the UK at PQ2019 before returning to take up residency at the V&A, London from July 2019 – March 2020. It will start a further residency at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincolnshire from 19 Sep 2020 – 10 Jan 2021.
An example of our practice to implement representation can also be found on our ‘Accessibility and Aesthetics’ page were audio recording and transcription is available on the website http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/working-groups/accessibility-inclusive-aesthetics/
Furthermore, SBTD is developing our Mentoring Working Group as a network for designers to encourage connectivity, communication and community between the generations. It is for both artistic and career development and to foster a culture of knowledge sharing by providing a structured, sustained framework. This autumn, there will be a series of one-off sessions titled ‘Coffee on the King’s Road’ throughout September for the opportunity to hear journeys by a wide range of Designers then there is an opportunity to join a longer programme with several one-to-one mentoring sessions. All Mentors are members of SBTD, experienced and professional designers who are supportive, broadminded and constructive with a range of experience between them. For further information on the Mentoring Working Group visit http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/working-groups/mentoring-group/
Initiative by: The Society of British Theatre Designers