Staging Places
Janet Bird
Janet Bird Greater London
Based in: Greater London
Member Of: SBTD
Visit Website: Website
I was born in Cardiff where I spent my first 19 years. This included an art foundation course. I assumed my future lay in fine art or architecture but it was there I discovered that Theatre Design was a thing that could combine elements of both disciplines as well as a passion for theatre.

A folder full of life drawings won me a place at Nottingham Trent. A couple of years after graduating I thought I’d better move to London so I did an MA in Scenography at Wimbledon School of Art. Since then I’ve continued to live in London designing plays and sometimes musicals. Credits include The Wizard of Oz; Kiss Me Kate; Hobson’s Choice (Sheffield Crucible); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Clwyd); The Merry Wives of Windsor; A Comedy of Errors (Shakespeare’s Globe); Enjoy (Gielgud); The Madness of George III (Apollo); Madman (Plymouth Drum).

Image credit: Johan Persson

Featured Work

The Wizard of Oz

Role/Title: Set and Costume design
Year of Production Opening: 2017
Venue: Sheffield Crucible
Wizard of Oz at Sheffield Crucible was a challenge. The text is packed with expectations. The theatre was in thrust, with no real wing space, no flying, very limited access from off-stage, challenging sight lines, all the usual limitations of a rep theatre budget and of course, an audience with a vivid memory of the spectacular film.

The nature of the beast was that the solution would inevitably inform all other aspects of the performance, particularly choreography.┬áMy solution was to keep almost everything within the stage space; much of Oz being created using the debris of Kansas. A raised disc created a surrounding trench for limited storage of props, performers could come and go from the performance space with ease. Dorothy’s Kansas house had a low tech ‘explosion’, dismantling the house and propelling Dorothy and her bed spinning into centre stage. The surrounding disc of stage was hinged and lifted to create a vertical plane, the underside a collage of woods, metallics and light boxes; the exposed sub-floor revealed panels of technicolour foliage. The yellow brick road later appeared as a series of ‘wooden’ light boxes.


Director: Robert Hastie
Lighting Designer: Richard Howell
Sound Designer: Mike Walker
Production Manager: Andy Beardmore
Costume Supervisor: Debbie Gamble
Model Maker: Ella Callow
Model Maker: Rachel Wingate
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School Placement: Caitlin Abbott
Writer: L.Frank Baum, Book by John Kane
Composer: Harold Arlen and Herbert Stolthart
Choreographer: Ewan Jones
Photographer: Johan Persson