Meet the Designer: Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree

September 24, 2018

Designer Claudia Mayer shares her inspiration and ideas behind her costume designs for Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree, a Polka Theatre and Tara Arts co-production.

“The Panchatantra was written in India around four thousand years ago. It tells stories about animals to explore human dilemmas in the way that Aesop’s Fables did in Ancient Greece. The messages of the stories are timeless and are still relevant today.”

Some of the mood board’s that Claudia created to inform her designs:


“I grew up in India and in my designs I hope to reflect the flavour of its vibrant colours, warmth and excitement.”

Claudia’s costume designs for the three performers in Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree:

“I was very keen to use natural materials like cane and raffia for the production to express the the rich textures and colours of the Indian subcontinent. We have used coloured headdresses and handheld animal shapes to represent the animals and to suggest that they come from a magical world. The masks that we are using are not lifelike but more evocative of the animals they represent leaving a space for the audience to use their imaginations. They are also very light so that the actors can change character quickly and easily and not break up the story.”

Props Maker Amber is busy creating a Lion:


“Although I knew wanted to be a designer I actually started my career as a ‘dog-handler’. This was at the Unicorn Theatre for Tintin’s dog, Snowy, in a production of Tintin’s Great American Adventure. After my stint at Unicorn I went and trained at the Motley Theatre Design Course and have designed shows for theatre, ballet and opera here in the UK and abroad. Since joining Tara my work has been very varied. As well as theatre shows I have designed exhibitions, co-written an adaptation of the Mahabharata for Radio 4, and worked with Jatinder Verma and the architect Julian Middleton on the design for Tara’s new building”.

Props Maker Sophia demonstrates how the Ram will be brought to life:


Three Sat Under the Banyan Tree opens on Friday 28 September, playing until Sunday 21 October on the Main stage. For ages 7+.