Tempest (2015), Helsinki Music Centre

Author: William Shakespeare & Jean Sibelius | Director: Ville Sandqvist | Set Designer: Suvituuli Saari

Lighting Designer: Antti Silvennoinen | Costume Designer: Sofia Pantouvaki |

Associate Costume Designers: Susanna Suurla, Heli Salomaa, Lauren Sever, Mimosa Norja |

Sound Designer: Markus Bonsdorff | Conductor: Tuomas Hannikainen | Make-up: Tuija Luukkainen |

Photographer: Sanni Siira

Designing through the Performer

Costume-led Artistic Research
  • How can an advanced level of collaboration be established between costume designer and performers?
  • Can the actors’ performance be enhanced through creating an intimate relationship between actor and costume?
  • Can the costume be personal if designed through the actor?

By designing performer-led costumes, the aim of this project was to connect the performer to the costume in personal ways.

After a 20-year professional career in performance design for the field of opera, my interest in this project focused on investigating the performer-costume designer collaboration and the potential of personalised, performer-inspired design.

The artistic concept for the Tempest is a timeless world that connects different periods: Shakespeare’s time, Sibelius’ time and the performance time of today.

In the Tempest, the performers were invited to discuss outside of rehearsals, to share memories from their private life, and to bring objects that expressed their feelings for their performance. The performers’ experiences informed and influenced the costume design, and the costumes included elements that were very personal to them. The design was therefore created ‘through’ the performers in a process of artistic research in which the materials were made from scratch, combining traditional and technology-based techniques such as dyeing, felting, digital printing, and laser cutting.