An Interview with Katie Sykes, Designer on Savage Children

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Photography by Graham Burke

Katie Sykes on designing Savage Children:

“The highly physical nature of Wild Girl really excites me as a designer and I wanted to provide a space that would allow for that but also frame it. The visual style is quite formal i.e .a limited colour palette and a balanced composition which then almost gets turned on its head by the actors physicality.

Mirad is a far less physical piece and I wanted the visual picture to be much starker and plainer than Wild Girl. I felt we shouldn’t be distracted from the words which are so powerful by any complicated design concepts.

I was very clear about how to design these shows from quite early on. The design has to be highly practical for a number of touring situations and so the solutions we came up with haven’t changed a lot in rehearsals. We have just added a few more props and tweeked the costumes.

In Wild Girl the scenes and images which stick with me are when Gigi and Dean first become ‘Her’. I’m hoping that it will really have an impact on the children and kick start a whole range of emotions .

In Mirad there are so many really powerful visual moments that get described that it is difficult to pick any one of them. But I think when Mirad’s father dies and he realises that he is really on his own and that he must survive without his family is something that I find profoundly moving.”

Wild Girl and Mirad, A Boy from Bosnia is on at Bristol Old Vic 18-22 Jun. Find out more here.


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