The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: UK Design for Performance 2015-2019 (Image: Performing Architects)

Liz Ascroft

(L) The Court scenes - (R) The Forest

(L) The Court scenes - (R) The Forest
  • Production: As You Like It
  • Venue: Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester
  • Year: 2000
  • Author: William Shakespeare
  • Directed by: Marianne Elliot
  • Lighting Design by: Vince Herbert
  • Costume Design by: LIZ ASCROFT
  • Set designed by: LIZ ASCROFT
  • Design © LIZ ASCROFT
The Royal Exchange's module is already a circle that contains a magical energy. It has the gods, the court and the people, separated yet together in its diagram of the universe. For the Court scenes (left image) we smothered the storytelling place with an over-bearing heraldic canopy. It has power over Rosalind and Celia in this moth-balled family that demands duty, drowned in the delusion of rightness, and then ... the weight is lifted (right image) as we go into the forest. The heraldry completely retracted, we return to the module as a storytelling machine where trees are rooted strong - connected and growing up into the magical mechanical canopy.