Designing the Set and Costumes for “The Ugly Duckling” by Catherine Chapman

This autumn we are touring the well-known Hans Christian Andersen tale the Ugly Duckling. Below we hear from Catherine Chapman, the set designer for the show, as she prepares for the final design meeting with the creative and production team and see a sneak peek of the set!


Having spent many hours exploring ideas of eggs, nests and birds I now rapidly approach my final design presentation. I make a set model to communicate my ideas for everyone involved at the production.  On the left is a ‘work in progress’ photo of my set model. The model is a wonderful tool for me to try out ideas and colours. Working at this small-scale is great as if I change my mind it’s just a new piece of paper.

At this presentation there will be lots of people present who need information from me so they can do their job. The costume supervisor will need detailed costume designs so she will know what shape, colour and style of costume to make or buy. The set builder will get detailed technical drawings to work from which will include all the measurements of the scenery. Over the summer the creative team will be working together to create the set and costumes the audience will see this autumn.

Catherine Chapman, Ugly Duckling Set Designer 


Ugly Duckling is touring from the 28th of September 2017 until the 4th of February 2018. The show will open at York Theatre Royal for two and a half weeks before doing a national tour including a short trip to Ireland, and will conclude with a two-week international run in Hong Kong and Singapore. To see the final set in person check out the Ugly Duckling show page to see the full tour schedule.