14 October 2020
Playing a Part
Playing a Part
By Dana Pinto
It was with genuine excitement that I re-joined SBTD in March this year after a number of years away. After graduating with an MA in Scenography, I went onto work for many years as a practicing Set and Costume Designer for Theatre and Film. Building a portfolio of work while on the London fringe, community groups and festivals, my design roles extended into managing apprentices that led me into entering the educational sector and obtaining formal qualifications. As Course Leader then Curriculum Team Leader for a Visual Arts Department in a Further and Higher Education College, I developed additional skills that, unknown to me then, would lead into creating a business, School of Scenography.
Facing the challenges of becoming a parent, School of Scenography incorporated my design and lecturing skills allowing me for flexibility with the demands of raising a young child. With Clients in north America, across Europe and 3200+ followers worldwide across all platforms, including Theatre Designers to Production Designers, Architects to Directors, Agents to Teachers, it became more apparent that although I had qualifications, my business required credentials also. With this in mind, I re-joined SBTD as an individual and then became a member of the Creative Industries Federation. Becoming a member of SBTD would allow me to be more active in our community, to support increasing further awareness for our art and create a greater impact.
Since re-joining SBTD, it was evident that my formal qualifications and professional experience in both the design industry and educational sector could play a supportive role within SBTD itself. Since April 2020, I have been supporting the Mentoring Work Group as a SBTD Member during lockdown and last week’s SBTD AGM marks the first day of officially being part of the SBTD Committee.
During lockdown, I have witnessed first-hand the great amount of unseen work taking place, where ideas are established, and viewpoints are exchanged to bring together a variety of events, both off and online. Each event, every workshop and every initiative take time, fresh ideas and teamwork from all of the collaborators. The team bring concepts into reality that even a pandemic cannot stop because of their dedication. From what I witnessed these collaborators cannot sit still, they see the value of people, what each person brings and with the significance and impact of time. Just as they would when designing a production, they consult, follow-through from concept to fruition.
Each Committee Member offers a different skillset in addition to our design abilities, each steering the organisation to continue to be current and fresh while taking on and solving challenges that will benefit us all as Designers. By encouraging involvement, increasing participation towards developing skills in leadership, public speaking, expanding awareness of running a business, supporting one another at different stages of our design career and actively promoting our art, are just a few of the reasons why being part of SBTD is so important.
Are you interested to share your skills as an established Designer with others? Or to be a more environmentally friendly Designer? Or are you discovering your researching and creative writing skills and wondering how to explore this further? There are active Working Groups for SBTD members to join including the Mentoring, Designers Taking the Lead and Sustainability Groups where taking part within a group can influence change and drive an idea forward.
Each person volunteers their time to actively develop, build industry cohesion and increase awareness across all the different aspects of our role as Designers. When I look at who is involved, they are those with design work I admire, those who are a positive role model in our community and those who conduct themselves to have a such great impact on others beyond themselves, I count myself lucky to be invited to be part of such an inspiring team.
Be part of the SBTD team and join a Working Group. Fight the pandemic by equipping yourselves with additional ‘tools’ to compliment your design skills, become involved and have an impact.
The Society of British Theatre Designers is run by designers for designers who willingly donate their time. We employ a part-time administrator. Please consider supporting our collective endeavours to advocate for and enable best practice by becoming a subscribing member. http://www.theatredesign.org.uk/join-us/