The papercut artist Su Blackwell is turning her hand to stage design for the first time by creating the sets for The Snow Queen at the Rose Theatre in Kingston. "It starts off with an industrial, Victorian, brick town in Denmark, which is quite bleak and then as Girder travels through the seasons, it becomes a magical, fantasy world," says Blackwell. "My favourite scene is Mrs D's garden, which is quite surreal and topsy-turvy. I had fun playing with the scale of props for that and planning explosions of colour for the stage."
Blackwell is best known for her intricate 3D scenes based on fairytales that rise from the pages of secondhand books. Merry-go-rounds, castles and mythical forests are all signature motifs, and her work has been seen everywhere from fashion-store windows to magazines and book covers. She's also illustrating a book of fairytales that will be out next autumn.
When it came to the set designs, each one was made by hand, on a small scale out of paper first before being turned over to the production team to recreate, scaled-up in canvas. "It was quite a restrictive way of working because the Rose is a circular theatre, so everything is on view and you haven't got the advantage of hiding part of the set away," she says.
'The Snow Queen' is at Rose Theatre, Kingston upon Thames (www.rosetheatrekingston.org) from today to 8 January 2012