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Double theatre design win for LIPA grads at Linbury Prize

Monday 09 October 2023

Double theatre design win for LIPA grads at Linbury Prize

Two Theatre & Performance Design graduates from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) have been named as winners of The Linbury Prize for Stage Design.

Tallulah Caskey and Finlay Jenner, who both finished their studies in June 2023, are among 12 people to be announced as recipients of the 2023 Linbury Prize.

Tallulah says discovering they were winners was an emotional experience. “I was so excited; I had a little cry. I think it was just a release of pressure. So many hours of work had gone into it, so many hours worrying about every minute detail.

“It was so lovely to go through this experience with Finlay. As soon I was over the shock of finding out I had won I called him and it felt like I got the news all over again, I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”

The judging process involved presenting work to a panel of judges. Finlay says it was intense. “You have to refine your work down to just a ten-page portfolio and from this the judges shortlist the candidates for interviews. The whole process is an intense exercise on thinking critically about who you are as a designer.”

Established in 1987, The Linbury Prize is a biannual theatre design competition and is part of the National Theatre and The Linbury Trust’s commitment to supporting emerging designers to develop a sustainable career in stage design.

Each of the prize winners receives a £5,000 bursary, a design placement with an established industry designer or producing organisation to develop their skills further and will display their work as part of an exhibition at the National Theatre from 13 November.

Tallulah’s hoping to use the win as springboard for her career. “There's no denying that the title of the award holds weight, it can open lots of career pathways. But you still have to live up to the expectations that come with it. I’m very excited for all of the experiences that lie ahead of me.”

For Finlay the win allows for a moment of reflection. “The prize will give me time to work out what it is I would like to pursue as well as the opportunity to meet and work with established practitioners.”

Ashley Shairp is Theatre & Performance Design (TPD) course leader, he says: “Tallulah and Finlay are talented designers and both embraced the breadth and hands on experience which the course at LIPA offers.

“I am chuffed that their hard work, determination and talent has got them this far and I am sure they will make the very most of the experiences which this influential award offers.”

Both Finlay and Tallulah have been busy since graduating. Finlay is in the process of forming design led company MACULA DOUBT with artists that he met during his time in Liverpool with work due to start on their next show soon. While Tallulah designed set and costumes for The Least We Could Do at The Hope Mill Theatre in London and is assisting set and costume designer Lee Newby (TPD graduate 2011) on The Enfield Haunting.

Image: Great Britain, Directed by Nick Bagnall, Costume Design by Tallulah Caskey, Set Design by Finlay Jenner, Lighting Design by Tom Taylor. Photograph - Andrew AB Photography