Derby Theatre to host Regional Stages Symposium for early career performance designers

A one-day event for professional performance design associations,
designers, venue partners, practitioners, students and design educators

Hosted by the University of Derby and Derby Theatre in partnership with The Society of British Theatre Designers as part of their Staging Places Regional Hearts programme.

On Friday 13 March, Derby Theatre will play host to a Regional Stages Symposium, an event to discuss and explore how tangible design related opportunities for graduates and early career performance designers can be developed and supported.

The Regional Stages Symposium is a one-day event bringing together professional associations representing designers, venue partners, practitioners, students and design educators to discuss how regional theatres and other regional organisations can promote and sustain performance design careers within the Midlands and beyond.

The day will include introductions, round table discussions, networking and the presentation of a site-specific collaboration between students from Derby and Nottingham Trent Universities and Derby Theatre Youth Theatre.

Panel discussions will include speakers from the University of Derby, Derby Theatre (the UK’s leading professional producing and Learning Theatre); The Society of British Theatre Designers, Nottingham Trent University, In Good Company (Derby Theatre’s flagship professional creative and business development programme for theatre makers and companies in the Midlands) and regionally based designers.

Discussion panellists on the day includes: Fiona Watt (Honorary Secretary, SBTD & Project Curator for Staging Places); Caroline Barth (Creative Learning Director, Derby Theatre); Imogen Melhuish (Designer); Kit Lane (Programme Leader BA (Hons) Technical Theatre UoD); Leila Kalbassi (Assistant Designer, Dundee Rep and SBTD Regional Design Champion, Scotland); representatives of SBTD Regional Heart: East Midlands; Ben Anderson (Creative Producer, In Good Company) and Maria Terry (Designer). Speakers re: the Eagle Market Project on the day includes: Dr Xristina Penna (Programme Leader BA (Hons) Costume and Set Design UoD); UoD students, Becca Pritchard, Hannah Sims and Jasper Turnbull; NTU students, Emily Haworth Wheatman, Samantha Hodson, Charlotte Thorntone, Tobasum Quasim, Flore Watson and Harriet Waterfall and Tom Craig (Derby Theatre Community and Learning Associate) with the DT Youth Theatre team.

The day also includes Q&A sessions with panellists, the opening of the participatory performance installation in the Eagle Market, Derby (a collaboration between University of Derby, Nottingham Trent University and Derby Theatre Youth Theatre); an Open Space discussion re: how we can build opportunities that reflect 21st century practices and needs and a discussion to create a ‘Future Manifesto for Design Opportunities on Regional Stages’.

Dr Xristina Penna (Programme Leader BA (Hons) Costume and Set Design College of Arts, Humanities and Education, University of Derby) said:
“Regional Stages is a one-day forum for sharing and developing knowledge and practices in the field of Performance Design in the Midlands. Come and join emerging and established designers, academics, representatives from the Society of British Theatre Designers and regional venues supporting designers to discuss how we can develop and sustain networks of design practitioners and scholars in the region. 

As part of this event we are also opening our Eagle Market participatory installation to the public. This has been developed by University of Derby Year 2 BA (Hons) Costume and Set Design students in collaboration with Derby Theatre Youth Theatre. Nottingham Trent University BA (Hons) Costume Design and Making students have developed a number of costumes for a performance-event happening in and around the installation on the day.”

Fiona Watt, Honorary Secretary of SBTD says:
“We are immensely excited to be launching our year of research into these vital aspects of sustaining a career in performance design and to begin an open dialogue with our Regional Hearts partners and colleagues in the East Midlands, a conversation that we will continue to develop and grow when we bring Staging Places : UK Design for Performance, our latest exhibition, to the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford ( 2nd May – 5th July).”

About Author /

Kath is an actor, singer and writer with a passion for theatre. She has been reviewing for At The Theatre since 2014. Kath has a Masters in Performance at Liverpool Hope University and is Creative Engagement Worker for B arts, a participatory arts organisation.

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