The Society of British Theatre Designers

Staging Places: We Are The Storytellers Now - open until March 29, 2020 at V&A London

The Assassination of Katie Hopkins

The Assassination of Katie Hopkins
  • Production: The Assassination of Katie Hopkins
  • Company: Theatr Clwyd
  • Venue: EST
  • Year: 2018
  • Author: Chris Bush
  • Directed by: James Grieve
  • Choreography by : Lucy Hind
  • Composer : Matt Winkworth
  • Lighting Design by: Oliver Fenwick
  • Sound Design by: Dominic Kennedy
  • Projection Design by: Nina Dunn
  • Costume Design by: Lucy Osborne
  • Set designed by: Lucy Osborne
  • Scenography by: Lucy Osborne
  • Photography by: Sam Taylor
  • Design © Lucy Osborne / Nina Dunn
  • Image © Nina Dunn
A new musical entitled “The Assassination of Katie Hopkins” that opened at Theatr Clwyd in North Wales has won the UK Theatre Award for best Musical Production 2018. The piece was directed by James Grieve with words by Chris Bush and music by Matt Winkworth and holds up a mirror to our society and the way in which we engage with events via social media. The design reflects this context: Lucy Osborne’s design is composed of surfaces that are designed to be constantly brought to life by video. Nina, who created the video design, worked closely with Lucy throughout and alongside video engineer Harrison Cooke to realise the vision to enable the design to function as desired. The main component of the set is two sliding walls made up of over 2,000 ‘mobile phone’ units, each with a pair of LED lights inside. The LEDs have been mapped to form a low resolution video wall that is used to great effect for video content as well as being reactive to sound and motion with the use of the newly released Catalyst v6 media server with integrated VideoDust that hit the market during rehearsals for the show. The walls were also designed to take projection as a whole with two sections that are gauze-covered that allow more detailed imagery to be used but that remain fairly invisible when not in use. Multiple live feed cameras and an iPhone are used to relate live action on stage and overlaid with lookalike TV branding and google searches, recording apps and title cards lend a feeling of verbatim or found evidence to this fictional narrative. This is combined seamlessly with the lower resolution textures and imagery that runs through the LED pixels within the phones resulting in a multi-layered video design that can both dazzle and overpower as well as bring moments of serenity or solemnity. Oliver Fenwick’s lighting adds another layer with his sensitive and dynamic design and makes great use of the cyc with coloured light that highlights the semi-transparent nature of the walls to great effect. The groundbreaking approach to the use of technology within a theatrical setting is echoed in every area of the production and responds directly to the script and music- David White and Dominic Kennedy have orchestrated and produced the score to include the familiar sounds of computer and phone alerts in a remarkable and seamless way – Nevertheless the piece retains emotional integrity and presents a pressing discourse for out times. Nina was nominated for a WhatsOnStage Award for the video design on the show.