Let’s Build! is a show all about the magic of discovering things for the first time, where mistakes are a door to something new. The show features two very curious builders experimenting with materials and building – and they want your help!
We spoke with Designer Verity Quinn and Set Builder Michalis Kokkoliadis to find out more.
How did you first get in to set designing/set building?
M: I was always interested in how thing were made, how they were capable of movement. As a child I would break my toys into pieces to make new toys; I broke my first bike into pieces when I was 9 or 10, redesigned it and put it back together. I did the same with my first motorbike at 16.
I worked for years doing building, painting, and sculpting. Sculpting helped me discover what it means to be a 3D artist, to design with volume.
Theatre design allowed me to use all my skills, expertise, and interests to make a living and to express myself.
V: I had a fine art background – I was more of a painter and a drawer, I didn’t work so much in 3D – but I was also really interested in getting involved in my local youth theatre and making shows. Theatre design was the perfect job because it combined those two expressions.
Let’s Build! set model, Verity Quinn
Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration for the Let’s Build! set?
V: For the set we were really inspired by the Reggio Emilio system of education, which is really bold and brave in the materials that it introduces into the classroom. Reggio invites children and adults to explore and experiment together with materials from the world around them – they’re not overly specialist, you could find them in your supermarket or home.
The design for Let’s Build! offers a palette or a blank canvas or a fresh page. It was important that all the materials you could see in the space across the show offered you an exciting, tantalising invite as an audience member, that you were excited to go and use them to build and experiment with at the end of the show. That’s the leading ethos of the design.
M: As a builder, what I found inspiring and challenging was the different approach that I had to take to this production compared to other building I often do. Usually for a set build you’ll take plywood and try to make it look like marble or metal or stone, but Let’s Build! uses and celebrates the materials for what they are. I like this raw essence of it, it’s friendly and inviting.
If you were building somewhere new to live what 3 things would you include?
M: Sustainability – Outdoor Space – Natural Light
The first thing is sustainability. As a designer, my ideal life project is to build a battery house that ‘charges up’ as I operate within it, like a loop of energy. I want to harness natural forces.
The second thing is outdoor space, to have the opportunity to grow things and to learn from that, to communicate with life and have a relationship with the process of growth.
The final thing is natural light. Natural light is so important for your health, but it’s also something that you can have a lot of fun playing with in a space.
V: Garden space – Thoughtful use of light – A place of my own to work
The first thing is a garden space, a growing space. I don’t know much about gardening, but I have a little bit of green outside my house. That small space has so many possibilities which is a good challenge, a 3D challenge, that my brain enjoys. If I were building somewhere new, I’d want that front and centre.
The second thing is a thoughtful use of light. You have to think about where the sun hits at particular times of day and what you want to put in that bit of sunlight. Personally, I always like my work room to be in the warm, bright room.
The final thing is a place of my own to work, a place where I can create things. As my current work room is becoming a nursery, I’m currently building a new work room. This space will store all the exciting materials and have excellent lighting.
Why should people come and see Let’s Build!?
M: It’s fun and expressive. Children want to satisfy their curiosity, they want to be guided in this, and they want to play. Let’s Build! brings all those things together. This is a place for collective work, without competition, without marking, it’s a space for a joint journey where you can build simply because you like to do it.
V: This is the place for you if you are looking to test your ideas, discover with some exciting materials and let your imagination run wild!
Let’s Build! runs from Sat 1 Apr – Sun 21 May with access performances available.
Tickets from £12.
Find out more or book today here.