Jaimie Todd, who designs sets for West End theatre productions – Londoner #42
The first show I ever did it wasn’t professional,as it was at school. But it taught me quite a valuable lesson.
It had two Directors and I had a design, which I showed one of the Directors, and me and
the Art Teacher, painted it on the back wall of the school hall.
And then the other Director, the Music Teacher saw it and he hated it and I had to paint
over my first ever set design. So that’s quite a good lesson, that actually,
nothing lasts for ever. My challenge is to provide the visuals to
the work and my main tool for that is to build a one in twenty five scale model.
And that really is the main tool for Directors, Actors, Designers and set builders to work
from. You can use anything, It depends on what you
need to create. I’ve used couscous, I’ve used tea. I think the think that people don’t see, back stage in a theatre, even if its in a documentary
is the sheer detail people go to and the effort, that is put into, even the tiniest of things.
For example if somebody is opening a letter on stage, if you saw that letter up close,
it would be the right address for the character and it would be written maybe even by the character.
They would actually ask the actor to write it Ultimately it makes the actor deliver a true performance. We try our best. I think London is the place to be if you want to work in theatre, obviously there is
Broadway, there are a lot of London shows, that go to Broadway, and I still think
London is the centre for theatre. Especially because its more varied that New
York tends to stick more to lighter things, but we are very good here at doing more serious,
more engaging plays. I like the camaraderie of a creative team,
when we’re sitting in a theatre, at ten, eleven o’clock at night still trying to get something
right and it is a real group effort. Much more than any other job I think. It’s very, very…Group effort. Everyone does everything to get the show going. And I like it when the set comes down I think, it’s very cathartic to see something torn
down and it means you’re going onto the next thing.