Clare Birks

Clare Birks

Art Forms: Stage Designer/Artist

Summary: My work is a balancing act between art and industry. It’s part solitary but mostly collaborative, binding together and presenting other disciplines in performance. It’s about capturing and creating atmosphere for a production, creating an environment, addressing all the senses but predominately visual. Sometimes using traditional stage design materials and on other occasions new more innovative technology. The work is usually part of a live performance. It’s ephemeral nature adding to its many special qualities. Each performance is unique.

Locations: Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire

Experience: After graduating I joined the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester as a scenic artist, props maker and designer. Since then I have worked as a designer in numerous theatres all over the country and as Head of Design at the Redgrave Theatre Farnham and the Mercury Theatre Colchester. In 1999, spurred on by my increasing personal and professional interest in education I won a place on an “Artist in Education” course run by Essex County Council. Since then as part of my design practice I have devised and run projects in Theatres, Schools, Colleges, Essex University and latterly for Creative Partnerships.

Qualifications:
1970-1972 Harlow Technical Collage Foundation Art Course
1972-1975 Trent Polytechnic Theatre Design Diploma 2:1 (second class, first division)
1999 Essex County Council Cultural Services. Artist in Education Course
2008 EXCITE! train-the trainer course. Training for Creativity in Education.

Projects: (a selection)

Arts Reverie, Ahmedabad India – Exhibition ‘Design for Living’, Create an installation and curate an exhibition of work created by young people from Ahmedabad and Oldham.

Colchester Museum Service – Artist on project to celebrate the centenary of the Colchester Pageant of 1909. Create installation for exhibition in the Holly Trees Museum and devise and run series of workshops for youth groups.

Firstsite, Colchester – Artist on community project Art Stop: Bus Stop. To devise and run art sessions for children and parents/carers on the firstsite bus at locations around the region.

Pits Wood, Copford, Essex – Artists in the Woods. Lead artist on project to celebrate 25th anniversary of woods being managed by the Pits Wood Trust. Create installations in the wood. Devise and run workshops for school and local groups.

Essex County Council. ‘Essex Eye’ Installation, County Hall, Chelmsford – ‘A grove of magical trees suspended with hundreds of images of eyes painted on postcards by Essex school pupils and members of the public.

‘Biddenham International School & Specialist Sports College, Bedford‘What is the best environment for learning project?’ Experiments in learning spaces, including changing spaces & changing location to help determine the best environment for learning.

John Bunyan Primary School & Infants, Braintree – ‘Beat Box Sound Cube’. Musical installation designed in conjunction with Year 2.

Folkworks,The Sage, Newcastle – Wassail National Tour. Design Set & Costume.

Creative Partnerships Haven Gateway – Creative Practitioner, (from 2006).


Groups Worked with: Primary and Secondary Schools, Community groups, including children, young people, the elderly and disabled participants.

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