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Meet our new Jerwood Resident Designer

West Yorkshire theatre designer Delicia Sorhaindo has been announced as Leeds Playhouse new Jerwood Resident Designer as part of a raft of career-boosting opportunities for Yorkshire-based creatives supported by the Jerwood Developing Artists Fund.

Delicia, who begins a one-year placement this month, made her professional debut as Assistant Designer on Nine Night at Leeds Playhouse last autumn. She previously worked with the theatre on a wardrobe department placement during her time at Nottingham Trent University.

Her new role will see her working on a range of projects with the Playhouse and Leeds-based children’s theatre company Tutti Frutti.

‘I am absolutely thrilled to be working as the Jerwood Resident Designer at Leeds Playhouse and Tutti Frutti,’ she said. ‘Theatre has always held a special place in my heart and to be working with all of the amazing people at each theatre is such a wonderful opportunity.

‘I have always loved to design and make, and I am so excited to learn even more about the craft from the talented people I will be surrounded by. I can’t wait to get stuck in and start creating.’

The new Jerwood Resident Designer role is the first of two consecutive one-year placements funded by Jerwood Arts. The Playhouse is one of 16 organisations announced in December 2022 benefiting from a total of £1m invested in early-career artist development programmes over the next two years. As well as the one-year placements, the funding will enable the Leeds-based theatre and charity to create two short-term placements and two Introduction to Design training courses for up to 30 locally-based designers.

Amy Leach, Deputy Artistic Director at Leeds Playhouse, said: ‘We’re thrilled that Delicia will be joining us as Jerwood Resident Designer. She is a brilliant local artist with a fantastic understanding of stories and how design can support the communication of these to an audience. We can’t wait for her to start her year of learning and development, and to continue our partnership with Jerwood Arts and Tutti Frutti in supporting the development of early career designers based here in West Yorkshire.’

Delicia will be offered unique opportunities to learn from a wide range of activities and production departments across the Playhouse. She will work closely with Furnace, the theatre’s renowned artistic development programme, which is widely regarded as one of the most ambitious and well-respected initiatives of its kind in the UK. She will also work with Tutti Frutti, which is based in Harehills, Leeds, and has 30 years’ experience in creating high quality, inventive theatre for children aged 3+ and their families.

Wendy Harris, Artistic Director of Tutti Frutti, said: ‘Tutti Frutti are right behind this brilliant Jerwood Arts opportunity for a designer starting out in their career. We are keen for all creative theatre artists to see and experience the wonders of making work for young audiences and we look forward to working alongside Leeds Playhouse to support and encourage Delicia to learn and thrive.’

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts, said: ‘We are proud to be able to support Leeds Playhouse to create a valuable space for their new Jerwood Resident Designer. Delicia now has the opportunity to grow her skills and fulfil her potential with the support from a brilliant team and fantastic resources. Competitive processes have the potential to burden the selected with the weight of “representing the future”, but Delicia can wear this lightly – the future is already here, and she’s shaping it.’

The Jerwood Arts funding builds on an existing relationship between the organisations which resulted in Bradford artist Warda Abbasi taking on the role of Resident Designer at Leeds Playhouse and Tutti Frutti in 2021 as part of a Weston Jerwood Creative Bursary. Further funding has been secured from the Jerwood Developing Artists Fund for a year-long Resident Designer placement in 2024.