Vic Hoyland

Kate Owen

Kate Owen, Photo by Alexander Michel

Essex-Xingu souvenir programme page 14

Designer, Interviewed in 1979

Born in South East London in 1952, Kate Owen trained in Theatre Design at the Central School of Art and Design, graduating in 1973. Apart from a brief period as Resident Designer at York Theatre Royal and Assistant Designer at the Citizens Theatre, Glasgow, she has always worked on a freelance basis and has designed over 20 productions, many of which she would prefer not to mention. Those she would mention include The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant starring Delphine Seyrig at the Theatre at the New End and The Red Devil Battery Sign a new play by Tennessee Williams premiered at the Round House and later transferred to the Phoenix Theatre. Both these productions were designed in collaboration with Bob Ringwood. The other association of which she is proud is that with the Albany Empire, a unique community theatre in South East London. After the original building was gutted by fire, she redesigned the interior and subsequently designed a season of four musicals presented by the Combination, the Empire's resident theatre company — Grand Opening Christmas Party, One Gun Salute, Freedom Point, and Weerkezi. Most recently she has designed I Like Me Like This for the Gay Sweatshop and Xingu.

“I like to work on projects which don't fall into easily definable categories: productions with music and dance but not necessarily musicals and ballets. Xingu was a challenge - it was a new work, music developed in a new direction, a piece with many levels, and a piece in which the designer was directly involved in the process of direction. Xingu is certainly the most unusual production have ever done - it is not often you are asked to design costumes for 75 kids with three costume changes!"

“What I’m working on at the moment always seems the most interesting thing l have ever done - until I start working on the next thing."