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HMS Pinafore/Minack Theatre/September14

Abby Clarke, Gilbert Sullivan, HMS Pinafore, Minack, theatre, set design, cornwall, cambridge, oxford

H.M.S. Pinafore, the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, was performed at the Minack theatre in Cornwall in September 2014. The set worked with the unique shape of the Minack’s curving stage, transforming it into the upper deck of a rusting, 1930s battleship by adding bulkhead lights, barrels, cannons, a working crane and tower to the curved stage. The stage-right  tower provided an upper-level entrance for the cast - from which the captain could observe his crew - while the backlit portholes helped replicate the passage of time as the play transitioned from day to night. The design reflected the exaggerated style of the operetta and had both a worn and caricatured effect, with rusting metal panels, tattered flags and faded bunting, mocking the deluded self-importance of the show’s various figures of authority. The set also aimed to create a sense of fun, with firework and smoke-shooting cannons, festoon lighting and bunting decorating the set and seating area. The bunting was made from faded fabric and character-personalized handkerchiefs, winding across the stage and throughout the audience seating, creating a vital connection between expansive audience and playing space as well as an air of fun and celebration across the whole theatre.


Designers- Abby Clarke and Ella Clarke


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