FESTIVAL OF CHICHESTER: An evening with set designer Simon Higlett

One of the greats of modern-day set design will be a guest of this year’s Festival of Chichester.

Simon Higlett, whose set and costume designs have been applauded in theatres across the world, will be in conversation with his friend and long-time collaborator, theatre director Roger Redfarn in a special event for Chichester’s Friends of Chartres, Ravenna and Valletta in the The Old Court Room, Council House, North Street, Chichester on Monday, June 29 from 7.30-10pm.

Simon has designed many productions at the Festival Theatre including Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain and An Ideal Husband.

Roger said: “He is rather clever! In fact, he is brilliantly clever. He serves the play so well. That’s the thing.

“He goes with the play, and in his own way, he serves the actors. He cares about the playwright, he cares about the play, and he cares about the actors. There are some designers who just think ‘I am going to do this, this and this’, but Simon isn’t like that at all.

“And I don’t think there has ever been a better designer for understanding Chichester Festival Theatre’s stage.

“I thought the way he used the stage for Singin’ in the Rain was wonderful, and also the way he used it for Alice in Wonderland for Chichester Festival Youth Theatre...

“I have worked with him quite a lot. We did Barchester and The Devil’s Dancing Hour (the two big Chichester Festival Theatre community plays at the turn of the century).

“There was a lot of wonderful scenery, but he always made sure to leave a lot of space for the actors!

“Really, it is his attention to detail. As a director, I just trust him. I know that he is thinking about every little bit of detail in both the sets and the costumes. I always feel so safe working with him.”

Roger remembers in particular a production of An Inspector Calls which Simon designed for him. For successive acts, Roger wanted to see the same room from three different angles – which meant taking a wall out and adding a wall in each time the perspective changed. Roger threw down the challenge.

“What Simon did was brilliant!”

Simon’s talk celebrates Chichester’s friendship with Chartres, Ravenna and Valletta. Wine and nibbles from France, Italy and Malta will be served.

Tickets £10. Tickets on www.chichestertickets.co.uk. 
Box office: 01243 813595.

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