Spotlight On… Tiny Dynamite

Published on:
5th June 2023

Bristol Old Vic Theatre School’s Summer Festival runs at The Wardrobe Theatre from 25 May to 17 Jun. The season is comprised of 8 sizzling contemporary plays – ranging from apocalyptic comedies to psychological thrillers – presented by the School’s graduating directors, designers, actors and technical theatre students.

We spoke to Yifan Zhang, Production Designer of Abi Morgan’s Tiny Dynamite about what audiences can expect at curtain up on Fri 16 June. She also told us how training at BOVTS has helped to shape her artistic approach.

What should audiences most look forward to in the play?

I think the most rewarding thing for the audience is the light and shadow performance and the atmosphere we create. Our design divides the stage into two parts, front and back, through a window-shaped screen, which symbolises the interior and exterior, as well as the spiritual world and the real world of characters. We tried to convey many potential messages through the play, but in the end my goal became that I wanted to tell a story to the audience with a very symbolic stage. This story will be passionate but lonely, contradictory but warm.

How did your training enable you to bring this play to life?

The initial design was actually changed in many different versions, and both the director and I wanted to give the stage as much detail as possible. Then we settled on the current proposal through constant discussion and read through, and we will communicate with the audience by the same means as the script. During my training at BOVTS, I found out what style I was good at and my tutors taught me how to really build the scenes I envisioned. And as a designer, how to communicate with other departments, and I’m always trying to be better at that. I think the training is for all of us to play to our strengths, work together and eventually bring our ideas to life.

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Rehearsal photography by Ed Felton; designs by Yifan Zhang

N'Dea in Henry VI
In just one year the MFA programme has given me the confidence in my artistry and the tools to work professionally that I lacked prior to my training. N'Dea Miles, MFA Professional Acting Student