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SBTD Members News Letter: December

News, 17 December 2020

SBTD Members News Letter: December


News & information for members of the Society of British Theatre Designers


Chair’s Message /  Festive Designer’s Drinks / Creative Industries Impact Survey / AAPTLE / Staging Places / World Stage Design / ACE: Developing Your Creative Practice Grants / SBTD Student Ambassadors / Sustainable Design Group: Costume Working Group  / Blog Roundup / Further Reading: Pantomime Season 2020 / Hiatus Collective / AmazonSmile
Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We wish you all a restful Christmas break and hope that you will find ways to connect with loved ones even if seeing them is not possible during this time.

The autumn term has been incredibly challenging for student designers and educators as we navigate learning, teaching and collaborating via online platforms and try to retain focus and motivation from within domestic spaces that may also be accommodating home schooling and other members of the household trying to work from home, all with regular dips in internet connections.

And yet, Flex, Flux, Fly, our future facing symposium hosted by Nadia Malik as part of our Regional Heart: East Midlands programme demonstrated so clearly the passion and imagination that exists for design learning. This event launched our Education Working Group and we hope that this will grow into a great conversation space for sharing new ideas.

We continue to liaise with the Equity Directors and Designers Committee and the Union itself advocate for fair, ethical, inclusive and representative practices that fully enable a ‘new normal’ when we are permitted to re-unite with all of our collaborators and audiences.

We are very proud to represent designers from all over Europe and beyond who have made the UK their home and place of work. We also know that working within Europe for large portions of the year sustains and grows the careers of a substantial number of designers and we will do our very best to support you as we deal with navigating the significant changes that Brexit will bring.

We are finalising plans for Regional Hearts and a range of other activities for the New Year and we will be in touch about those soon.

The SBTD team have put in an extraordinary level of commitment this year and I would like to extend my thanks to them, to Cat Silver, our brilliant administrator, Martin Ball at Creative Juice, our friends and colleagues at NCCD and Ian Taylor and his team from E-stage who have made so much possible.

All my very best,


On behalf of the SBTD team

Have you got news to share or something you’d like to see in the newsletter? We’d love to hear from you! Contact us at:

Reminder: Festive Designer’s Drinks – today!

Thursday, 17th December, 18.30We really hope you can join us for SBTD’s first ever VIRTUAL Christmas party. We are going to kick off the evening with a quiz from 18:30-19:00 to be followed by Designer’s Drinks.

This is a chance to get to know the SBTD committee and the wider SBTD family. Together we can collectively reflect on the past year and what happens next for our industry, but most importantly to have some Festive Fun!

Sparkly outfits, Christmas jumpers, small children, pets and silly hats are encouraged and welcome. Make sure you bring pen, paper and a tipple of your choice and we will see you on Zoom!

Book a place via Eventbrite

Covid-19 Creative Industries Impact Survey

The Creative Industries Federation have just launched a Creative Industries Impact survey. Following a year that has turned our sector upside down,  the  purpose of this survey I s to inform research, and to strengthen the case to government as they look to support the UK’s creative industries during the pandemic and beyond.

The Creative Industries Federation says:

“We know  that surveys like this are time consuming and you may have completed many this year,  but  they are the quickest way to ensure that  your voice is heard.  Surveys like these have led to enormous change and positive movement this year, including the  Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and the  Culture  Recovery Fund of £1.57bn, and there is still more to do.”

Please do share the survey amongst your networks so that they can hear from as many people as possible.


Our regular involvement with AAPTLE continues with representatives from our committee attending every Tuesday. These meetings are a vital means of shared communication across all of the professional associations and a range of new campaign groups and collectives that have become active since the start of lockdown. Each organisation takes it in turns to host the meeting and SBTD will be hosting on 26th January.

If there is anything of particular concern, especially concerning variances in return to work conditions or suspension of work as a consequence of COVID restrictions that you would like to bring to the attention of the wider group, please let us know.

Alex Rigg and Oceanallover performing Ecdysis (In Vivo). Photo: Scott Murray

Staging Places at NCCD extended until 31st January

Though Lincolnshire is also in Tier 3 lockdown and this may well continue into 2021, we are nonetheless delighted that NCCD have offered to extend our residency for an extra three weeks in January, allowing us the opportunity to extend our events programme and to hopefully include some virtual tours of the exhibition which we hope will be of particular but not exclusive benefit to student practitioners who were not yet at University when the exhibition was in Prague and at the V&A.

We will announce details of this extended programme in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, please do explore the extraordinary generosity and breadth of the work on display via our Staging Places website where you will find a series of their short films about their processes of making the work.

The National Centre for Craft & Design 2020-2021 – Staging Places

World Stage Design

As a consequence of the current pandemic situation, WSD has been postponed until 6th – 16th August 2022. All of the Open Calls have now been extended well into next year, so please do take a look and think about submitting work for exhibition or project proposals.

It is still the intention that the event will take place physically in Calgary, Canada though, of course, the organisers are mindful that the range of other decisions that may need to be made is ongoing.

OISTAT is one of the key partners on this project and as with many other organisations, the learning from the pandemic experience is that we can gain a much wider reach of engagement across the world if opportunities to engage digitally are available alongside the opportunities we all miss to physically gather and share knowledge, expertise and, of course, friendship.

Each of the OISTAT Commissions and Sub-Commissions are in dialogue with their members about potential proposals for Scenofest and a number of us who sit on SBTD Committee also have involvement in these working groups, so do get in touch if you are interested in being a part of these conversations. As a member of SBTD, you are automatically a member of OISTAT.

WSD details and FAQs can be found here.

ACE Developing Your Creative Practice Grants: Round 9

It was good to see such a range of our members attending our ACE session about applying for DYCP funding which we hope you found useful.

The portal opening date for Round 9 of DYCP (the next round) has been pushed back until Monday 11 January 2021.

If you are thinking about applying, this gives you a bit more time to prepare. We have a number of designers within the committee and our wider membership who have successfully applied for funding in the past, so please get in touch if you need a sounding board and/or if you need help navigating the dreaded Grantium Portal when you are ready to submit.

ACE’s advice is t aim to have your application ready so that you can submit it as soon as the portal opens.
The closing date for Round 9 has not been announced as yet but updates on that will be announced via their website and social media.

SBTD Student Ambassador Programme 

We are now in the process of launching our Student Ambassador programme targeted at 2nd year BA (Hons) students on performance design courses throughout the UK. It is vital to us, particularly during these unsettling times that we share the resources of SBTD more widely with those starting out on this career path as you seek out industry knowledge and that you feel that you are already a vital and important part of the Society.

We would like to encourage 2nd year students to take up this opportunity and are offering it to two students per institution.

Each student will receive:

  • a welcome pack
  • a copy of a previous SBTD catalogue
  • individual student membership to include receiving our monthly newsletter and access to a range of resources in the Members Area of our website that support best professional practice.
  • an invitation to attend 3 Student Ambassador group events across the academic year.
  • a direct point of contact within SBTD for further questions and signposting.

In exchange for this offer we will be asking the Student Ambassadors to promote membership of SBTD to their peers and we will support them with the resources and skills to do this.

To participate in the programme your institution will need to be a member of SBTD.

For details on how to sign up to this programme institutions should contact Cat Silver:

Sustainable Design Group

Our Sustainable Design costume working group is now up and running.
As part of the Regional Heart: East Midlands programme running alongside the Staging Places residency at NCCD, we hosted a meeting featuring the fantastic work of Amy Nicholson, who told us about her work with her company Handmade Theatre and led a workshop session.

We have also helped with a new consultation on sustainable production led by Buro Happold. There’s a survey out for this and we’d be grateful if you could complete it. Ecostage’s (very short) survey is also still ongoing; please do that too! The results of both will help us develop our work.
We had our final meeting of the year on 14th Dec and have  lots of plans for 2021. Get in touch if you’d like to get involved! We’re on

HandMade Theatre’s Flying the Nest. Creative director/designer: Amy Nicholson, Creative producer/performer: Suzy Gunn, Guest director: Becky Matter, Photographer: David Wilson Clarke

If you’ve been enjoying our blogs, how about creating one for us to publish?

It can be text, images, video, audio or a combination of any of these. Maybe there is something you are passionate about or exciting work you are creating that you’d like to share with the membership?

Do get in touch

8 December 2020
Christmas Gift Showcase

24 November 2020
In Solidarity with Designers

Sleeping Beauty designed by Lily Arnold, Theatre Royal Stratford East, 2018

Pantomime Season 2020

The New York Times reflects on how Covid-19 has affected British theatre, and in particular the 2020 pantomime season.

Featuring the work of various theatre artists working in pantomime including designer, Lily Arnold, this article describes the pantomime tradition for American readers, explains the importance of these shows within the theatre economy and looks at how Covid-19 has affected this year’s productions.

Hiatus Collective

Hiatus is a collective aimed at supporting and encouraging neurodiversity within performing arts.

Find out more about their work and ways to become involved via their website and blog.

Support SBTD through the AmazonSmile Program 

If you (and friends and family) use Amazon, please consider this, it’s a simple way for SBTD to increase its funding to allow us to more for you.What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a program that donates 0.5% of your eligible purchases on Amazon to a charity of your choice, (SBTD is a registered Charity!) and it costs you nothing.

Every item available for purchase on Amazon is also available on AmazonSmile at the same price. You will see eligible products marked “Eligible for AmazonSmile donation” on their product detail pages.

How does AmazonSmile work?

When you first visit, you are prompted to select a charitable organisation, just search ‘Society of British Theatre Designers’.

Amazon will give 0.5% of the net purchase price (excluding VAT and other shipping fees) of eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organisations selected by our customers.

Friends of SBTD

Stage Sight
Association of Sound Designers ( ASD)
Stage Directors UK (SDUK) 
Association of Lighting Designers (ALD)

Creative Industries Federation
Equity Safe Space Campaign
UK Theatre Producers

Useful sources of support

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