A group shot of the cast on stage from The Concrete Jungle Book hip hop musical.

Q&A with the Costume and Set Designer Nik Corrall from The Concrete Jungle Book

| Wed 2 Aug 2017

Can you tell us a bit about your background?

I studied graphic design at Camberwell College of Arts but focussed on stop motion animation during my degree. Once I graduated I continued to make animations and worked designing and installing vinyl stickers for major exhibitions and shop displays. What I loved however was creating a mini universe and this eventually led me to theatre design. I’ve worked at a number of theatres around the UK including the Royal and Derngate, Arts Centre Aberdeen, The Ambassadors and the Park Theatre. I always enjoy the challenge of reading a script and making it come to life in a particular space.

How did you approach designing the costumes for The Concrete Jungle Book?

I started designing The Concrete Jungle Book as I would any production, by researching and observing. Visually, the universe of Concrete Jungle borrows from many sources such as musical genres like hip hop and grime, as well as fashion. I studied a lot of music videos and went on a bit of a musical journey to begin to understand the aesthetic. The second part of my design influence was the Rudyard Kipling novel and its various adaptations. I looked to the animal kingdom for ideas on how to blend these worlds and bring some animalistic truth to the characters.

The show is a hip hop musical situated in an urban setting. Can you tell us how you’ve captured this environment with the set design?

A big consideration when designing the show was that it had to pack up and travel to Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Each show has less than 15 minutes to set up and strike the set and we absolutely can’t go over this. I explored things that pack down, foldable and lightweight items in an attempt to full-fill this criteria. I’ve tried to make the set look a bit like a Jamaican sound system so have included speaker cones but the main part of the set is made from cages. For me a city is made up of grids, be this the windows of a high rise tower block or the mesh on a trolley discarded in a canal. The metal cages also allow for props to be kept on stage meaning that the pace of the show isn’t interrupted.

What’s been the most interesting / enjoyable aspect of working on The Concrete Jungle Book?

It’s been brilliant getting to know the team and hear about their own individual insights into the world of the show. Hip hop isn’t a genre I would normally listen to and it’s really opened my world to a different musical sound.

The Concrete Jungle Book is on at Edinburgh Fringe from Friday 4 – Monday 14 August at ZOO. Book tickets here.

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