Collaborators – UK Design for Performance

Society of British Theatre Designers, 2003-07

Credits | Reviews  ⇓


Compiled by Kate Burnett

Softcover Catalogue

Portrait, 21×29.7 cm

Number of Pages: 228


ISBN: 978-0-9529309-4-5

Purchase a copy of the catalogue



“But its all collaboration”
This first section acknowledges the above statement as the instinctive response of many designers to our title. The statement below by designer Jean-Marc Puissant is the reflection that follows:


“Thinking systematically about collaboration brings me back to specific cases, people or events. Apart from the fact that it is the most crucial aspect of any project, there seems to be nothing generic or universal about my experience of it so far. Even with the same person, each collaboration ends up being about something else, articulated in different ways. In my mind, the word itself refers to a context, not a definition; it does not stand alone. I think of a fruitful collaboration, an ongoing collaboration, a lack of collaboration, a rewarding collaboration, a will to collaborate.


Inevitably, from concept to production, theatre is interactive. The nature and scale of the work produced requires team effort at each phase and performing it involves an audience. But interaction alone doesn’t necessarily amount to collaboration, and vice versa. There seems to be a specific mind to collaborating, – an acknowledgement. The taste for collaboration was a key element of my training at Motley and it has become fundamental, if not central, to my work ever since.


I like the fact that some aspects of collaboration remain slightly mysterious. I see no real pattern to what could make it successful other than consistently making it the priority at every stage of my process.” (Jean-Marc Puissant, September 2006)


Perhaps the key component in the work that follows is an insistence on the centrality of the performance material – text, music, dance – to which designers respond and have ultimate loyalty. This may seem obvious, but with ever increasing visual and performance possibilities and choices, the core material can sometimes seem to be less important in realisation. Useful maybe to remember that even the most apparently extreme visual solution originates in a response to…