HANNAH POSTLETHWAITE

We meet the talented young British designer following their work as Associate Set Designer on David McVicar’s production of Medea at Greek National Opera

How did you get into designing set for opera?

I studied production design for stage and screen at The Northern School of Art, originally with the intention of become a prop maker for film. I got a work experience placement at Opera North in my second year and loved working at the company so much I went back every season to work in the props department. In 2018 I dedicated my final year of study to theoretically designing La bohème for Opera North, which I presented to them. Opera North was incredibly supportive of my ambition. In the same year I met the designer Charles Edwards, while he was working at Opera North on The Little Greats. Shortly after I graduated, I moved to London to assist him and he became a huge inspiration and catalyst into meeting directors and finding work of my own.

How was the process of working on Medea?

It was a privilege to bring our production of Medea to Greece, to go out and see the history that brought these great stories. We had a great team that came out from all over the globe to work together again and I think we did a great job and we really supported each other throughout. Having started this production at the Met, it was great to bring it to life in another beautiful theatre. We had a fantastic cast of singers and actors; Anna Pirozzi as Medea was particularly wonderful.

What do you think audiences should know about the design process?

I’m sure all designers would have a different answer to this question! Right now I would say that audiences should know how closely designers work with directors. A really good design is born out of a good collaboration. Being able to bounce ideas around with the director really helps elevate a concept.

What projects are coming up next for you?

Well, I have the honour of co-designing Wagner’s Ring Cycle with Sir David McVicar for La Scala Milan, which is keeping me very busy! I am also designing Maria Stuarda for Teatro Real Madrid. Both productions open at the end of 2024. In the meantime we will be taking Medea to Canadian Opera Company in Toronto next spring. There’s more stuff in the pipeline, but it’s too early to reveal! ON