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With the opening night of The DIY Nativity just days away we caught up with the shows costume and set designer David Curtis-Ring to find out some of the challenges behind making the set, what his favourite costume is and what Bryony is really like.
How do you know Bryony?
We met at Chisenhale Dance Space about 3 years ago and since then we’ve worked on various different projects. The first show we worked on was Sex Idiot which Bryony showcased at the Fringe and I did the costume and set for that. Bryony approached me with the concept for The DIY Nativity and asked if I’d like to do the costume and set for it and I thought it sounded like fun. We work really well together so it’s always good to work with Bryony.
What was your inspiration behind the costumes and set?
The inspiration came a lot from programmes and films from my childhood. So things like the “Santa Claus The Movie” (1985), some of the charm from “How the Grinch stole Christmas” by Dr Seuss and then there’s some elements of things like Disney background paintings, Art Attack and itsabitsa, so alot of TV shows from the 90’s.
Bryony is known for her extravagant costumes in her previous shows so what can we expect this time?
You can expect quite an exciting Christmas jumper. I don’t want to give away too much but also the presents from the flyers , they’ll be in the show as well.
Have you been designing the costumes for all the characters?
Yes, I've been working on the costumes with Bryony, Sam and Stuart so we come up with the ideas together really and then I develop them all. All of the costumes have to have the same feel and look so I’ve been working everyone’s to make sure they all tie in together.
What’s the process behind making the costumes?
We initially sit down and talk through what the show’s about, Bryony will say what she wants the costume to do, sometimes it has to have a particular thing on it or it needs to be made of a certain material. So there’s a starting point that comes from Bryony and then we draw up ideas together, we carry on swapping ideas through the making as well. The show is always evolving as it’s rehearsed so it’s important that we stay in contact to make sure the costumes and set develop with the show.
What’s the set like? Does it involve a lot of cardboard?
Yes it’s fitting with the name, The DIY Nativity, a lot of the set is made from quite humble materials, so there’s brown paper, hessian, cardboard mixed in with sort of strong, real made things. So there’s that feel of possibility through the brown paper and art attack type materials. There’s a real sense that the set is a space for your imagination.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve had so far?
Well that I’m based in London and the shows in Cambridge; it’s quite a large set so transport is an issue. That’s probably been the biggest challenge, the distance and getting things from London to Cambridge.
What’s been your favourite part so far?
Favourite part so far is probably making the Christmas jumper. There's all the best and worst parts of Christmas all in one jumper. Not all the pieces are finished yet but I’d say that it’s my favourite so far.
And finally how would you describe Bryony?
A fun and mischievous, in your face, glitzy rogue!
The DIY Nativity opens on Tue 04 Dec and runs until Sun 30 Dec. For more info on the show or to book ticket please click here.