The Snow Queen

Video Designer

Yvonne Arnaud

December 2020

Director- Joanne Read

Designer- Nancy Surman

Lighting Designer- Hannah Walker


I was lucky enough to be invited back to the Yvonne Arnaud yet again to design their Christmas show, as they decided because of such a turbulent 2020 they were not going to stage their usual pantomime, but instead a festive children’s play, The Snow Queen. In hindsight, that was a very good idea - because we all know what happened with Christmas 2020! 


This was my biggest solo design to date and I was so excited to be in such a large house just after graduation. As well as the hired back-projector for the cyc, I also utilised the Arnaud’s cinema projector for a few moments, such as the snowstorm and during Preset when we had the tabs in just to project some snow alongside the shows logo


The set design featured something I had never worked with before: a circular projection surface. This was a large scenic piece with a circular cut out and a BP tucked behind 1 m behind it, as it also used as an entrance and exit for the the Snow Queen. For the visual language, I settled on a watercolour-on-canvas effect and since half the show was set in winter and then we slowly migrated to spring, it was a lot of fun creating my two co-ordinating colour palettes. I also enjoyed creating a writing animation for when our protagonist is guessing a secret password by scraping words into the floor which then showed up on the icy wall behind him. Sightlines were key in this cue, to ensure every seat had a good view of the entire word whilst remaining large enough overall, so I spent lots of the tech time in that scene running around the auditorium.














I think my most favourite cue in the show was the snowstorm, which utilised both the front and back projectors. For this I sourced lots of footage of falling snow of varying speeds in sizes, as well as monstrous creatures which the Snow Queen summons as so to keep our hero trapped in her palace. I layered up all of this snow and then used multiply blending so that the creatures eyes and fangs looked like it came from within the snow itself. Hannah and I worked together to create an effect that extended beyond the stage, with her keeping the stage as dim as possible, allowing the projection to read as intended. allowing my projection to be very defined. Hannah then utilised the lighting rig to fill the auditorium with texture to really bring the audience into the storm.It was a fantastic cue and unfortunately  there are no good production shots taken of it, I definitely need to get better at bringing my camera to during dress rehearsals! 


Production Shots - Craig Fuller