Last month we began our brand new ‘Introducing…’ series by getting to know Production and Operations Director Craig Fleming better. This month it is the turn of Karen Tennent, a long time Artistic Associate of Catherine Wheels who has designed shows including Hansel and Gretal, Lifeboat and Pondlife. This autumn, The Story of the Little Gentleman, also designed by Karen, will tour venues across Scotland.
Karen just recently got back from Shanghai where she designed a new set for the the Chinese version of Martha. See her pictured here presenting it to the cast and company at the A.S.K.
How long have you been at Catherine Wheels?
Forever- I believe I was in New Zealand when they were born! Martha was the company’s first show in 1999 and I designed that so I have been there from the beginning.
What does your job involve?
I design the sets and costumes and get involved in developing ideas for new shows . I have just returned from China where we did a new Chinese version of Martha, in Chinese! We are also developing two new shows for the beginning of next year that I am working on at the moment.
What has been a Catherine Wheels highlight for you?
Making Hansel and Gretel in the New Victory Theatre on Broadway and being nominated for a New York Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Design.
What’s your favourite thing about your job?
Watching the audience watch the show.
What’s the best thing about working in theatre?
Working with a fantastic team of brilliantly talented people.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work as a Set Designer?
Get as much experience in every aspect of theatre as possible and try to understand and appreciate all the different roles it takes to put on a production. Try and get experience working with your favourite theatre makers- offer to make tea, to be in the room to see and learn from their process.
Can you tell us a Catherine Wheels secret?
Broken Wings and Slumbering Sisters . . . . look out for them next year!
And finally, how would you describe Catherine Wheels in three words?
Exciting! Crazy ! Fun!