Student wows at degree show

A Derbyshire student has wowed guests  at the opening night of her degree show with an unusual design for the set of opera La Boheme.

Hannah Postlethwaite from Chesterfield is a final year student on the BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen degree at Cleveland College of Art and Design in Hartlepool.

For her final major project Hannah, 21, was given an exclusive ‘live’ assignment by Opera North  to design a theatre set for La Bohème.

Hannah’s talent secured a week of work experience at Opera North with the prop making department during the second year of her degree in 2016. 

At the end of the week they so were so impressed by her they offered her a week’s paid work and then another three a few months later. 

Hannah said: “I learned a great deal while there; including just how fast you have to work. At college you might have the luxury of spending a couple of days or even a week making a prop, but in the real world you’ve got a couple of hours. 

“What I enjoy the most, aside from working with a great team, is the feeling I get knowing a piece of work I have made is being used on stage. I get a great buzz from that.

“So I approached Opera North about my final major project, as I knew I wanted to do a theatre design. I had gained a good relationship with the people there so they were more than happy to get involved. They gave me an option of three operas to choose from and I chose La Bohème.”

In a surprise twist, Hannah took the setting of the original romantic opera from 18th Century Paris to Havana in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis as she felt it was a visually romantic city with dramatic architecture, music and art, which matches the passion of the original play set in France. 

Following the final model presentation, Opera North is now considering costing the whole show to see if it is within budget.

Hannah said: “After focusing on my final presentation at the Opera North, which did require many 12 hour days at college and a lot of late nights, I then prepared for the degree show. It has been great to show my family and friends what I’ve been up to and celebrate with my course mates. It is very exciting.”

After graduation, Hannah is planning to move back home to Chesterfield and begin her career as a freelance prop maker.