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The Ruby in the Smoke/Blackwell's Bookshop, Courtyard Theatre, Pleasance King Dome/July-August 16

St Anne's, Revue, Revolution, Dining Hall, Abby Clarke, Set design, theatre, performance, Les Miserables, Oxford

The Ruby in the Smoke was the world stage debut of Philip Pullman’s best-selling novel. The play, written and directed by Madeline Perham takes the audience on a thrilling chase through London, India and Oxford, mixing domestic settings with the seedy underworld of opium dens. The nature of the play, with its many settings, fast-paced plot and multi-rolling characters meant that the set design needed to be versatile and practical as well as conveying the atmosphere of grimy Victorian London. The set consisted of two walls of dirty, terraced ‘dolls houses’ that would open to create cupboards and tables, whilst also storing props, costumes, puppets and lanterns during the show. The ‘dolls houses’ were wired with LED tape so that they could be lit up individually or as a whole, quickly changing atmosphere and conveying a change in time. The themes of smoke, shadows and storytelling within the play was conveyed visually through shadow puppets and laser-cut grates, passed on Victorian air vent designs which helped to bring and ornamental and palatial feel to scenes set within Indian banqueting halls and London’s opium dens.

'One of the best sets of the fringe' Ed Fringe Review

'The set... is brilliant... immediately evocative of the Victorian time period' Ed Fringe Review

'a truly impressive set...perfectly evocative of the crowded streets of Victorian London'  Fringe Guru

'an impressive and evocative set' Fringe Review

'a wonder of hidden compartments and shifting lights' The Stage


Director and Adaptor- Madeline Perham

Set and Puppet Designer- Abby Clarke

Costume Designer- Judith Musker Turner
Lighting Designer- Katrin Padel
Sound Designer- John Eavans


Abby Clarke Theatre and Set Design
Abby Clarke Theatre and Set Design
Abby Clarke Theatre and Set Design
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