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Working Groups

Mentoring Group

We are here to inspire, motivate and encourage designers at all stages of their career to support one another via our mentoring programmes....

Mentoring Group
Staging Places Roundtable, Photo by Alex-Brenner

The SBTD series of Mentoring Programmes aims to inspire, motivate and encourage designers at all stages of their career, especially in a pandemic.

Listening to your needs and offering support, both practical and emotional. Through shared experiences and passing on of knowledge, we aim to enable confidence as to your future, no matter what level or type of career you have. Helping set goals and how best to accomplish them with clarity and encouragement, even in the current extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in.

Offering both virtual and (in time) in person workshop sessions – see our list below.

At our in person workshops we will offer motivational talks, followed by Q&As; advice on how to develop and refine your skills and design practice; give positive constructive feedback on your portfolio/website and how to best represent your abilities with the work you show, whilst also pushing you to meet the highest professional standards.

With patience and understanding we aim to challenge you to achieve your best. 

  • Welcome Sessions for Graduates: in University/College Groups – Virtual
  • Mentoring Group Session Workshops for all Designers – Virtual 
  • Mentoring Group Session Workshops – in person; commencing in London, but also working towards Regional Hearts Venues
  • Mentoring Group Session Workshops held in Theatre/Opera Venues: this is work in progress that will continue, but will require modifying once the future of how companies may operate unfolds 

Pre Covid19 – The SBTD were and are still working towards:

  • More companies offering 1 year paid Assistant Designer residencies 
  • Companies offering short Assistant Designer residencies
  • Mentoring One-to-one

SBTD Mentoring Scheme Announcement

We are delighted to announce that its pilot Designers Mentorship Scheme will see over 37 designers supported through an intergenerational scheme that includes International and Tony award-winning Costume and Set Designers.

The initiative is the brainchild of Designer Christianna Mason, supported by the SBTD Mentoring Working Group and is aimed at Costume and Set Designers at any career stage. The scheme has been created to enable artistic and career development and to encourage connectivity, communication and community across generations in the theatre, opera, and dance industry. The pilot is setting out to illuminate the support needed for designers at all levels in the sector and to provide professional development for young and emerging practitioners.

Fiona Watt, Chair of the Society of British Theatre Designers says:

Christianna has done something incredible in turning a clearly identified need from designers at every stage of their career into a project proposal she has been steadfastly determined to see through to realisation with the consistent support of our Mentoring Working Group. We look forward to hopefully seeing this pilot grow into something more long term.”

The scheme includes providing bursary placements for designers who might otherwise face barriers to participating. These bursaries include a year long membership to SBTD.

Christianna Mason adds:

“Set and Costume Design is a tough industry to navigate without much support available beyond the early career stage. Designers are often disconnected from each other in their everyday working lives, so it can be difficult to form and grow networks, even more so for people from disadvantaged backgrounds. I wanted to create a mutually beneficial partnership between designers to encourage connectivity, communication and community between the generations in the live performance industry.

The Designers Mentorship Network connects designers through long form mentoring, for all career stages: be it figuring out the first few years, coming back after having children or diversifying with an established career. We have already had an overwhelmingly positive response from mentors and mentees alike, with 88 mentee applicants for 37 places. We look forward to growing this scheme in the future and developing further rounds.”

The pilot runs until January 21st, 2021 and consist of 37 pairings, with 52 participants mentors and mentees.

Set and Costume Designers taking part in the inaugural scheme are:


Alisa Kalyanova

Ana Ines Jabares Pita

Bek Palmer

Benjamin Glover

Bettina John

Blue Bradfield

Christianna Mason

Christopher McCourt

Davy String

Debbie Duru

Electra Pappa

Ellen Rey De Castro

Emily Bestow

Gwendoline Chen

Ica Niemz

Ingrid Hu

Jessie McKenzie

Kathryn Weaving

Katy Hoste

Libby Todd

Louie Whitemore

May Davies

Mayra Steriou

Melody Ramsay

Natalia Alvarez

Nicola Hewitt-George

Petros Kourtellaris

PJ McEvoy

Richard Evans

Rosie Whiting

Ruth Badlia

Sasha Mani

Sophia Pardon

Sophie Donaldson

Tim Meacock

Verity Johnson

Zoe Squire



Alison Neighbour

Angela Davies

Anna Reid

Bek Palmer

Bettina John

Catherine Morgan

Christopher Oram

Dana Pinto

Emma Tompkins

Francis O ‘Connor

Jamie Vartan

Libby Todd



Lizzie Clachan

Louie Whitemore

Michael Taylor

Nicky Shaw

Patti Amat

PJ McEvoy

Rae Smith

Rebecca Brower

Richard Evans

Rosie Whiting

Sophia Pardon

Tom Piper

Contact us about the Mentoring Group

If you would like further information on this group please send us a message here: