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Beckie's background was in Fine Art before she specialised in Theatre design. She began painting for Bridget Kimak, on sets for the Bridewell Theatre, Polka Theatre and English Shakespeare Company, working on floorcloths for the New Vic Theatre, Pilot Theatre Company,Tutti Frutti and sets for Northern Broadsides.
Looking For JJ
‘Looking For JJ’ was produced by Pilot theatre company at York Theatre Royal in 2007. The designer Laura McEwan wanted to create a water stained effect on the dance mat floor and the gauze screens.
‘Silly Billy’ was designed by Alison Heffernan for a joint production between Tutti Frutti and York Theatre Royal and first performed in 2007. The floor was dance mat and the central sections of the stage left and stage right flats were fabric on rotating panels. There was a blind which lowered to reveal a painting at ‘grandma’s’ house. In 2008 Tutti Frutti took the show out on tour again but because the floor was marked from the previous tour, Alison Heffernan designed a lovely turquoise design to be added to the central piece.
Fever Chart and 1984
Catherine Chapman designed ‘Fever Chart’ for Pilot in 2009 and ‘1984’ for York Theatre’s Youth Theatre, produced in 2007 both of which Beckie painted. Fever Chart was a wonderful mixture of oranges, blues and greys with fabric stencils of birds placed on set which had a quality of fragile decaying paper. 1984 was painted in a very fluid distressed way in sombre greys.
‘Rabbit and the Hedgehog’ was produced by York Theatre Royal in 2008. Beckie painted the floor and back cloths, made the ‘floating’ clouds, painted the tree, made the leaves, rocks and the pond. It was a studio children’s show based on a book. The trunk was for ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’ was produced in 2007, York Theatre Royal. The trunk shown in the picture belonged to Tortoise and he had a bowler hat painted to match the print .
This was a play performed in York Theatre Royal’s studio space and was produced by ‘Back and Forth’ in 2008. The designer Matt Edwards wanted a very textured set which would work well with the show’s video projection and yet would be able to tour. The floor was a backed cloth textured with idenden and painted, the set was a mixture of solid, gauze and cloth all painted.
Two and Paribanou
Both these shows were designed by Pip Leckenby. Paribanou by Alan Aykbourn was produced at the Stephen Joseph Theatre. This version was their 2005 production. Pip wanted the set to mirror Arabic geometric patterns. ‘Two’ was also designed by Pip and painted by Beckie. As the play was set in a pub, Pip wanted the set to suggest a world slightly altered as if a little drunk….
More York Theatre Royal
This show was produced by York Theatre Royal. ‘Death of a Salesman’ was performed in the main house and designed by Dawn Allsopp in 2008, Beckie painted into the back poster, the set and furniture. ‘The Railway Children’ was first performed in the summer of 2008 at York’s National Railway Museum. As well as painting the interior which was largely flat colours and wood stain for the 23 meters of wooden train platform she painted this exterior door which was the public entrance to the huge tent which housed the set, a recreation of a Victorian railway station designed by Joanna Scotcher.
A Man With Two Gaffers
This was a 2006 production by Northern Broadsides in collaboration with York Theatre Royal and designed by Leslie Travers. The set floor and some of the backcloth was printed carpet. In the image of a rug shown here the inside of the rose was painted by Beckie on canvas so that a light could be shone through this section of the set. The rest of the set was stained wooden pieces that could be wheeled around and two huge coal piles made by Beckie.
More Tutti Frutti
Both of these shows were produced by Tutti Frutti in collaboration with York Theatre Royal. Jack was from 2006 and designed by Alison Heffernan. Beckie painted the set and furniture while Matt Grace painted the floor cloth. ‘The Girl Who Lost Her Smile’ was also from 2006 and designed by Catherine Chapman. The picture shows a blue backcloth with an Arabic curved set piece centre stage. It was a small touring show for which Beckie painted the backcloth and main set piece as well as making the fabric tree branch shown in the top right of this picture .
York Theatre Royal’s version of John Godber’s ‘Bouncers’ was produced in 2007 and designed by Catherine Chapman. Beckie painted the set to Catherine’s design to emulate a rusting metallic nightclub interior .
Blame was also performed in the main house in 2007. It was designed by Patrick Connellan, who wanted a highly textured painted floorcloth to resemble worn carpet and a roof section which was wired and treated with idenden to create the explosive shape. Picture courtesy of Robert Day.
In the Dumb Waiter, from York Theatre Royal’s studio performance in 2006; the wallpaper was to be damp and mouldy, the woodwork stained and the copper pipes all aged with green patina. The brickwork was for Cadbury World in 2001 and the floor for 2007’s Pinocchio was to be textured like tarmac and tiles. The supporting pillars from Lorna Richie’s design for the 2007 production of Wuthering Heights, were textured and rusting as was the loom shown in the next picture
In ‘Saturday Night’ performed at the Bridewell Theatre, London in 1997, Beckie painted the banners and assisted the designer Bridget Kimak with the back cloth. ‘The Snow Queen’ also designed by Bridget was performed at Polka Children’s Theatre in Wimbledon in 1994. ‘The Anniversary’ was from 1994 and the yellow spiral floor cloth shown was painted in 1998 for the New Vic Theatre’s production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. This was designed by the theatre’s resident designer Liz Evans.
The first is a glass painting Beckie did as part of a set for the Ibis Hotel chain in Heathrow and Euston all based on the restaurant food choices. The other three paintings were all from Beckie’s time at college.
‘Whatever Next’ was produced by Tutti Frutti and York Theatre Royal for a 2010 tour. Beckie painted the set, furniture and props and made the owl puppet. The designer was Barney George and the play was based on the children's story book of the same name by Jill Murphy so he tried to be a true to her orignal drawings as possible. The set was a collapsible padded box that became different scenes as well as the cardboard box in which Baby Bear travels to the moon.
Oleanna opened in York Theatre Royal's studio in November 2010. Charlotte Bullock had designed a simple but dramatic office space in which she had played about with perspective and dimension. The paint effect was MDF set and furniture to be painted to resemble a light beech effect. Image courtesy of Karl Andre Photography.