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The arts


winged in the end! The main scaffolding structure never looks exactly as you plan it, and the trees we acquired – we only knew what they were like when they arrived. Also, the Michael Morpurgo book the


show is based around is totally pastoral – both in the feel and the illustrations – and pertained very much to nature, so that’s what I had in my head from the beginning. A nymph’s woodland playground or a dingly dell – something magical.


Clifton Life: How did you evolve the ideas for the set with Sally? Phil: I sit in rehearsal and we talk about each scene, and I try and design a bit of the set to work for each one.


Lucy Tuck (Mouse)


Sally: All theatre-makers should do an early- years production, if only for the feedback. Children respond naturally and honestly. It can be terrifying; if you haven’t got something right, they just start shouting “I want to go home now!” As adults we often put up with stuff we don’t like, when what we really want to do is shout out.


Clifton Life: What are the essential ingredients for engaging children in theatre? Sally: Theatre-makers are getting better at listening to what young people want. There’s no longer a sense of division between work for families and work for adults. I work exactly the same way in every show I do, it’s just the material that changes. I always ask two questions: how can I do this in the most imaginative way, and what’s at the heart of the piece?


Phil Eddolls on stage design Clifton Life: You’ve created stages for opera, film, rock’n’roll, art installations and carnival design – what have been your favourite productions to work on? Phil: I think theatre, because there’s a connection with people, and a story. Treasure Island was one of my favourites because it was such a great tale, and I could really relate to it through the process of designing the show.


Clifton Life: What are the main challenges of setting up an outdoor theatre on a busy Bristol street? Phil: As always, the main challenge is getting the most for your budget, getting bang for your buck. We got an enormous amount for free, this time around – the stage management team came up trumps


big time on this. I’d say it was about a third as difficult to install as Treasure Island, much less of a quest to get it set up – for the simple reason it is not so big. The main thing for me is to give the audience something completely different – to give them an experience, as well as a show.


Clifton Life: What’s the vision for the Boy Who Cried Wolf set? Phil: Sally wanted levels, people to have to look everywhere around them, behind them and above them, and she wanted something visually really different – but a lot of it we


Clifton Life: Tell us the most difficult/ bizarre set problem you’ve ever faced ... Phil: I think flying an aerialist inside a 100ft tower that lifted up inside a crane so he could resemble a trapped insect. That was for a show called Sticky, with Improbable Theatre. The main problem was the resistance of the crane company to do it at first – but they came round in the end.


Clifton Life: What happens if it rains? Phil: People get wet! CL


The Boy Who Cried Wolf runs at Bristol Old Vic until 1 September bristololdvic.org.uk


If it rains, these mice will get as wet as you will www.mediaclash.co.uk Clifton Life 45


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