5 minutes with set designer | Anna Fleischle

4 Jun 2024

Designing the set for A Child of Science...

Designing the set of A Child of Science had many different challenges.
Firstly, it’s obviously a massive subject. There were so many years of work that had to be condensed and therefore the play moves very quickly through different scenes. 

Anna Fleischle in her studio

There’s something in the movement and fluidity of Gareth’s writing that’s very special. I knew as a designer I had to support this fluidity. He’s layering scenes and layering imagery and as we move through the play, sometimes spaces co-exist. So that’s something that was very much in my head when I was designing.  

Model box image (courtesy of Anna Fleischle)

What struck me very early on was the contrast between the science and the medical world that’s all about numbers and grids; maths and organized rigidity – in contrast to something that’s extremely delicate, natural and emotional which is at the core – the desire to have a child. It was clear to me that these two sides needed to co-exist in the design.

Much of the inspiration came from looking at medical spaces but keeping the layering in mind – I was interested in glass and how glass gives us different senses and views sometimes. How sometimes we see things clearly, sometimes blurred, how  things can move out of darkness and how light creating different shapes.

Model box image (courtesy of Anna Fleischle)

Also the question: How can the more delicate world coexist within that?  Does it appear within it or shining through it?  Where does the colour come from? The shape of the design in itself is quite stark but because of the transparency of the glass it allows for other things like light, video and costume to introduce something natural and soft into this environment. 

Inspiration and research notes

Because the scenes move so fast the glass screens are infinitely changeable – you can rearrange and create diff spaces and shapes you can layer them up but equally be in quite a dark and empty space that’s far more emotional than trying to portray a certain location. 

Anna presenting her design to the cast on day 1 of rehearsals

A Child of Science plays 5 Jun – 6 Jul