The past year and a half has been a complete whirlwind of amazing projects and theatre productions. I hope to add all of these amazing shows to this site very soon. Stay tuned!
Needless to say, 2015 was a busy, whirlwind year for me. I am so thankful for all of the incredible design opportunities I’ve had and the amazing artists with whom I’ve had the privilege of working. I wish I had time to reflect on and blog about everything that has happened this past year, but instead here is a list of all the productions I worked on in 2015.
Romeo and Juliet, Burning Coal Theatre, January 2015
Much Ado About Nothing, Raleigh Little Theatre, February 2015
Sunday in the Park with George, Burning Coal Theatre, April 2015
Kidswrite 2015, Burning Coal Theatre, May 2015
I Do, I Do, Tidewater Stage, June 2015
The Nerd, Tidewater Stage, July 2015
Asylum, Burning Coal Theatre, October 2015
Titus Andronicus, Bare Theatre, November 2015
The Wiz, Burning Coal Theatre, December 2015
Cheers to a wonderful year of theatre and looking forward to an even better 2016!
Over the past four months, I have had the priviledge of working on three of my dream productions. In January, I designed props for an innovative, modern, movement-based rendition of Romeo and Juliet with Burning Coal Theatre Company. Immediately following, I continued my Shakespeare immersion with scenic design for Much Ado About Nothing at Raleigh Little Theatre. I am so proud of the work we did for that particular show, especially getting to work with fellow Southern Miss alum and new Artistic Director, Patrick Torres. Finally, this spring I wrap up the 2014-2015 season with Sunday in the Park with George at Burning Coal. Once again, BCT proves that it can transform a large scale musical into a “perfect representation of art”, to quote one of our reviewers. I’m looking forward to working with both of these amazing companies again very soon.
Much Ado About Nothing Press:
Romeo and Juliet Press:
Sunday in the Park Press:
New Post to come, featuring Romeo and Juliet with Burning Coal Theatre Company (props design) and Much Ado About Nothing with Raleigh Little Theatre (scenic design). Both productions are part of the series Wherefore: Shakespeare in Raleigh. www.visitraleigh.com/wherefore/
Raleigh Little Theatre’s recent production of Hairspray, for which I was the Scenic Designer, was a sure fire hit and kicked off the 2014-2015 season with a bang. Click below for links to these amazing reviews.
Updates and photos coming soon for the following productions:
Kidswrite 2014, Burning Coal Theatre Company, May 2014
Pump Boys and Dinettes, Tidewater Stage, June 2014
Driving Miss Daisy, Tidewater Stage, August 2014
Hairspray, Raleigh Little Theatre, August 2014
The Iron Curtain Trilogy, Burning Coal Theatre Company, September 2014
I am very excited to share what I will be working on this summer.
In May I will be designing scenery for KidsWrite 2014 at Burning Coal Theatre. This is my second year being a part of this project, which allows students to submit plays as part of a competition, and if selected, these plays are performed by professional actors in a staged reading type atmosphere with limited set/costumes/props. It never ceases to amaze me how talented these young playwrights are.
For the rest of the summer, I will be returning to Tidewater Stage, now in its second season. Tidewater Stage is the professional theatre company in residence at Regent University in Virginia Beach. Last summer I had to privilege of being a part of the inaugural season, serving as Paint Charge for the productions of Forever Plaid and Barefoot in the Park. I will be returning as the Paint Charge for Pump Boys and Dinettes and Driving Miss Daisy. In addition, I will have the honor of being Scenic Designer for Driving Miss Daisy.
Regent University is my second theatre home. My first professional job (non summer stock) was working at this university. For two academic seasons, I served as the Paint Charge for a total of twelve theatre productions and various film projects. I do not have the words to express how much I grew as an artist and as a person during those formidable years. What I learned from them prepared me for graduate school and helped launch my career. I look forward to every opportunity to visit or work with them again. Summer 2014 is going to be amazing!
The Diary of Anne Frank is a story I have been familiar with since early childhood. In 2002 I had the opportunity to study abroad in Europe and was able to tour the Anne Frank House and Museum in Amsterdam. I remember being surprised by how homey and livable, though small, the Secret Annex was; not the cramped, dirty attic I had imagined.
When the Artistic Director of Burning Coal Theatre first approached me with the opportunity to design this production, I felt like the stars had aligned. It is a welcome experience when a designer is called upon to work on a play and a topic with which she is not only familiar, but is emotionally and intellectually drawn.
My approach to design is always rooted in reality…or rather history. I prefer the classics, period plays, and works that allow me to explore other places and times. The Diary of Anne Frank was a thrilling exercise in all the things I love: historical relevance, intense research, first hand written accounts, and decades of imagery chronicling this story. My goal was to use all of this information at my disposal to create a representation that was true to the original, but not an exact replica of the space.
There was, however, a very unique challenge with which I was faced when designing this set. The Artistic Director wanted to transform the stage so that the acting took place on the balcony level, therefore creating a feeling of claustrophobia (both physically and emotionally) for the audience. He wanted everyone to feel as if they were in the attic along with the Franks and Van Danns.
After a series of conversations (you know, that design process…I will spare you the elaboration), we came up with a very exciting and intimate space in which the actors and audience could interact. The design is different from anything I have ever done, in the way that myself and the other designers have created an entire environment for the world of the play. The audience gets to literally pass through the bookcase and up the hidden stairs where they step into the Secret Annex and the stage on which the play will take place. I am really proud of the final product and hope the production photos provided here will give even a glimpse into what we achieved. Photos are available here with more to be added after the production closes on April 27. Thanks for reading!
“Elizabeth Newton’s set is situated at the theater’s balcony level, requiring the audience to walk upstairs to a cramped space near the theater’s ceiling to seats ringing the playing area. The actors comfortably go about their routines despite such close scrutiny.” – excerpt from review by Roy C. Dicks for The News and Observer
“Elizabeth Newton has created a somber, all-too-intimate set, in which audience and performers seem never separated and these pitiful lives seem to adhere to us like Gorilla glue. ” – excerpt from review by Martha Keravuori for Triangle Arts and Entertainment
The Diary of Anne Frank was recently reviewed by several Raleigh area publications. We are very proud of the work we’ve presented and are thankful for such positive feedback. You can find the complete reviews at the following links:
The Diary of Anne Frank production photos can be found here.
In the spring of 2011 I designed The Last Night of Ballyhoo for Raleigh Little Theatre. For posterity sake, I would like to record these reviews here. I am so thankful to have had that opportunity and for the honor of even having my name mentioned.
“Despite illness, long-time RLT artistic director Haskell Fitz-Simons and associate director Bunny Safron have pulled this show together rather well. Scenic designer Elizabeth Newton, lighting designer Michael E. Baggesi, and costume and wig designer Vicki Olson also deserve commendations for enhancing the authenticity of the proceedings.”
The Last Night of Ballyhoo production photos can be found here.