Setting the Stage for Romeo and Juliet  
Q&A with Designer Richard Hudson
March 4, 2020MERW-2018-1-600.jpg

One of Britain’s most acclaimed designers, Richard Hudson won a Tony Award for his designs for The Lion King and an Olivier Award for his work with the Old Vic in London. His extensive body of work includes designs for the Metropolitan Opera, The Royal Opera House, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, The Royal Ballet and American Ballet Theatre among others. Romeo and Juliet is the first time Mr. Hudson has worked with The National Ballet of Canada.

What was the inspiration for your designs for Romeo and Juliet?
When I first met Alexei Ratmansky, he told me that he wanted to do it in the original period, the period of the Shakespeare play, which is early Renaissance. The inspiration for the set design is Italian frescos from that period, particularly the architecture.

What was your biggest challenge?
In terms of the costumes, there are certain constraints – they have to move in all directions. The wardrobe department here at the National Ballet has all the tricks to make sure the dancers can do everything they need to do in the costumes.

What do you like most about the creation process?
The most exciting day for me is the first rehearsal in costume. By then the whole set is there and the props and quite often most of the lighting is done as well, and then suddenly we have the arrival of all the costumes. Then of course we have the arrival of the orchestra and that’s where it really all comes together.

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