As part of the MTC Ambassador Program, Lachie Collie interviewed Set Designer Andrew Bailey about creating worlds on stage.
When you walk into a theatre, the first thing you notice is usually the set. It introduces the audience to the world of the show and gives the actors something to work with’ to bring the show to life on stage. To create an interesting, intricate set, that doesn’t take away from the action on stage but complements it, is no small feat and it takes a professional, like set designer Andrew Bailey, to pull off a great design.
Growing up, Andrew became involved with school productions’and his father was a theatre studies teacher. From this Andrew ‘found that [he] enjoyed theatre’ and went on to study Fine Arts Production at the Victorian Collage of the Arts (VCA) in Melbourne. Andrew is now the Production design coordinator at MTC and has designed many sets for MTC productions. Some more recent designs include The Boy at the Edge of Everything, and What Rhymes with Cars & Girls.
A set designer’s ultimate job is to ‘design and execute a set’ which is ‘suited to the play’. Andrew’s projects ‘start with the script,’ ‘when [he] reads a play [he] starts to get images pop into [his] head’. He then formulates a design by firstly ‘working conceptually’ and ‘closely with the director… because they will have a strong vision of the show’ and then moves on to ‘working with scale models,’ and ‘suiting a set to a stage’ or space for the performance.
To make a design work well ‘all elements need to come together’ to create a ‘great set.’ This means that the set complements the lighting, sound, costume, direction and, importantly the actors. This creates one cohesive show which works well to convey the story of the play and is what can make or break a production.
In talking to Andrew two things are clear; firstly he is very experienced and knows what he is talking about, and secondly he is passionate about what he does for a living. It is this piece of advice – to be passionate – which he would pass on to anyone aspiring to enter the theater industry. ‘In this industry you need to be passionate about it… if you’re not there is no point.’
Lachie Collie was one of the 2015 MTC Ambassadors. He is passionate about drama and the performing arts studying VCE Drama at school. Lachie is a keen sportsman and musician, playing the trombone.
You can see Andrew Bailey’s latest work in Lungs at Arts Centre Melbourne from 5 February.