As a festival which celebrates writing for young people, the performers taking part in National Theatre Connections must be between the ages of 13 and 19. Most of our cast are first year university students so if our performers want to return the following year, they are only eligible for roles within the production team. Lincoln Young Company‘s Set and Website Designer, Adam Robinson, has been with us since we first formed in 2012 and were lucky enough to be chosen to perform at the National Theatre. “I’d like to say it was daunting, but it’s such an intimate space you’re performing in. It was in the pre-set, when I had a moment to just look around, that I realised…oh my god, I’m at the National Theatre.”
Four years on and we just can’t seem to get rid of him, “It gives me something to do that’s a passion of mine now I’ve graduated.” Since performing, Robinson has taken on the roles of Shadow Director, Shadow Producer and this year, Website and Set Designer. All these experiences “helped me, especially throughout my degree. Just having an understanding of all the different roles in a company has made me a better theatre maker in general.” Unlike the Shadow Production Team Members, Robinson doesn’t have anyone to mentor him for the first time in this role he’s created. “The original web design was html coded and it’s not easy to teach yourself how to understand html. That’s why I’ve adapted it back to a simpler format so anyone can use it, whoever’s in the company next year won’t have to go through all this!” His role as Set Designer has also required him to teach himself, the practical things like knowing the dimensions and materials you have to work with.”
Not knowing where to begin, Robinson sat down and read through the play thoroughly, “You start just going through the play; the stage directions mention large elements of set like a cave, an electric fence, a fire. Once you tackle the big blocks of set like that, I found the smaller blocks tend to just slot in around them. ” He explains that it’s easy to forget that you’re a small company on a budget and want to test, “how far you can take an idea. I had so many designs running around in my head at one point and I just couldn’t pick one.” Robinson’s decision was made easier the company was forced to change the entire concept of the show two months before we go on. “We visited the Leicester Curve space in January and suddenly realised we had much smaller dimensions to work in, and a much shorter time frame to get in and out.” Any big ideas Robinson had, had to be scrapped for a much more minimalist vision, “it would have been difficult if it were just me. I don’t have a mentor but I did have the technical team at Lincoln Performing Arts Centre team showing me what was possible.” Overall, the concept change has, “actually made everything easier. There’s less inventory to worry about and we can concentrate on making what we have look the best it can be.”
In his fourth year with Lincoln Young Company, Robinson wanted to “take a step back… let someone else take the lead.” But with the workload he’s put upon himself, I feel like he’s working harder than ever, “it’s like…my theatre roots are with this company now, and I just can’t seem to uproot myself whilst I can still keep learning.”
Eclipse is playing at the Lincoln Performing Arts Centre from 8-10 March. Eclipse will then be performed at the Curve Theatre Leicester in May 2016, dates TBC.