Press Releases

Genesis Theatre Design Programme launches to increase representation in theatre sector

8 December 2022

(Gbolahan Obisesan, ULTZ, Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey and John Studzinski. CR. Adrian Myers)

The Genesis Foundation is today announcing the launch of a free training and mentoring programme for global majority applicants who are from socially and economically challenging backgrounds who want to pursue a career in theatre as a designer.

The Genesis Theatre Design Programme is a free two-year part-time course which will train and support six designers with the aim of improving global majority representation among theatre designers in the industry, expanding the pipeline of talent, and opening more career opportunities. It is a partnership between the Mulberry UTC Creative Industry Training College, the National Theatre, The School of Historical Dress and Brixton House and funded by the Genesis Foundation, National Theatre Foundation, with additional support from the James Family Charitable Trust.

The programme will include tutorials with world-class designers and directors, lectures and research projects with staging and costume experts, design projects with global majority directors and artists, practical training with production and technical staff, placements as assistants to designers, and experience in theatres. Participants will also network with and receive mentoring from leading industry professionals.

The Genesis Theatre Design Programme will be led and delivered by three theatre artists in collaboration with Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre (Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical, Death of England, Othello).

The course leaders are:

    • Gbolahan Obisesan, award-winning British Nigerian writer and director and Artistic Director of Brixton House.

    • Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey, Black British Theatre Award-winning designer who has recently worked on Death of England at the NT, Anansi the Spider at the Unicorn

    • ULTZ, Olivier Award-winning, Tony Award-nominated designer who has recently worked on Death of England and The Corn is Green at the NT and Jerusalem in the West End.

The Genesis Theatre Design Programme is a new iteration of the renowned Motley Theatre Design Course which ran from 1966 to 2010.

John Studzinski Founder and Chairman of the Genesis Foundation said “For more than 20 years, the Genesis Foundation has been investing in the careers of exceptional creative professionals, enabling them to develop their skills, networks and resilience. At the National Theatre, the Genesis Music Theatre Programme has been running successfully since 2017. Now we are launching the Genesis Theatre Design Programme, which will nurture outstanding talent while addressing a striking imbalance in the creative industries. Six emerging designers will benefit from two years of mentorship from some of the UK’s leading design professionals. Structured, collaborative programmes like this are vital to the UK’s cultural sector, ensuring that it thrives and that it leads by example when it comes to innovation, professionalism and representation.”

Clint Dyer, Deputy Artistic Director of the National Theatre said, “I would not have been able to do the work I do without a similar intervention early in my career. It’s exactly what a National Theatre should be backing. I am proud to be part of it.”

Sadeysa Greenaway-Bailey, award-winning designer and course leader said, “I started my career as a carnival artist, going on to study scenic art, prop making and set building, then trained on the job to become a performance designer. I bring all of these skills to everything I do and the shows I create. We are actively reaching out to people who may have started or work in different art forms to theatre or spend a lot of time dreaming up ideas or creating their own projects.”

Gbolahan Obisesan, Artistic Director of Brixton House said, “This programme is an intentional intervention to cultivate a new cohort of creatives predominantly in backstage roles from diverse global majority heritage. Along with acquiring new craft and artistic skills, these individuals after two years will then take their knowledge to various companies and organisations for more practical professional experience; that will be the start of new career paths in the creative industries aiming to redress the balance of representation.”

The free programme will run for two years from April 2023 and is open to people age 18+, with no upper age limit.  No specific qualifications are needed to apply to this programme, but potential students will be required to submit a portfolio or summary of previous creative work.  This could include work, or education experience or self-directed project in creative fields such as fashion, architecture, interior design, and events.

Applications will open from 3 January 2023.

Find out more information and apply