Hannah Sibai talks about designing the set and costumes for The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Hannah Sibai is a performance designer based in Yorkshire. To date she has designed over 70  productions. This autumn Hannah will be designing the set and costumes for The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which is touring from mid-September to the end of December.

Have you designed for tutti frutti before?

I designed The Elves and the Shoemakers for Christmas last year, and I recently designed Teechers which was a co-production between YTR and Gala Theatre Durham.

Tell us about your approach to designing The Boy Who Cried Wolf?

I was really inspired by the knitting references in the story. The family is part of a village of knitters so I wanted to bring lots of yarn into the design. The set consists of ‘yarn bombed’ trees and giant bobbins, which felt like a really playful approach for a children’s show.

How much is in collaboration with the company?

I always enjoy collaborating closely with the director to make sure the designs not only fit the script and action well, but are also practical for touring. The set and costumes are always inhabited by actors so I always need to think about how they will be used or worn or interacted with. There are quite a lot of hidden lights in the set design so I look forward to collaborating with Mike the lighting designer too as we start to build the set.

What will the show look like? What kind of puppets/props are involved?

The set consists of three trees that move to create different locations and a number of giant bobbins that can be sat, moved and climbed on. Like all my designs there is a very specific colour palette. The bright colours sit against a predominantly white floor which gives the impression of a snowy landscape. There are also knitted mountains in the backdrop which frames the space. The costumes are inspired by folk handicraft and have lots of embroidered and knitted elements as well!

How does the fact that the show is touring affect your design?

We have to think about how the show will break down into sections for fitting into a tour van. Everything will cleverly pack down so it can be transported safely.

What’s the difference between designing for children’s shows and adult shows?

I think children’s shows need to be very visual and the storytelling needs to be very clear. However I’d describe my designs for both children’s and adult shows as being very bold.

Tell us about this interest “in designing space for devised, playful and interactive performances”.

I enjoy designing for shows that involve the audience or play with the boundary between actor and audience. A lot of the shows I work on are either new scripts or devised in the rehearsal room – it’s exciting to be in the room with the writer, shaping the show as it is being written!

Tell us something about some of the European work you’ve done.

I have designed several large shows for the English Theatre Frankfurt. In 2016 I collaborated with creatives in Germany and Greece on a transnational production called Phone Home, inspired by true stories of refugees, interlinked by video-conferencing.

Sum up your designs for The Boy Who Cried Wolf in three words.

Handicraft. Playful. Knitted!!

For more information about The Boy Who Cried Wolf click HERE