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East Sussex College students on course to keep up winning tradition in Royal Opera House Design Challenge

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Creative students from East Sussex College Lewes have once again been shortlisted for the prestigious Royal Opera House (ROH) Design Challenge.

The annual Design Challenge competition runs in the Autumn term and invites students from colleges and universities across the country to submit designs focussed on a particular brief.

This year, the project challenged students to design around Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 masterpiece, La bohème. There were four categories to enter; Set Design, Costume Design, Hair, Wig and Make-up Design, and Marketing Strategy and Design.

Over 20 students studying Art and Design subjects from the Lewes campus submitted work before the competition deadline on 14th February 2020 and are now eagerly awaiting the results which will be announced on 6th March 2020.

James DiBiase, A-Level Art tutor, said,

“Each year our students really look forward to entering the ROH Design Challenge. They’re given an opera or ballet to work on and a set of four Director’s visions, which they must use as project guidelines. All of the designs and productions are judged against how well they would work in the opera house.

“We’ve had lots of success in this competition over the years. The student’s work has become so successful that it is now used as an exemplar and inspiration for other colleges wishing to take part. As a result, the college has been made the only ‘Gold Standard’ for the competition.”

For the past seven years, students from East Sussex College Lewes have won at least one prize and had their work presented and displayed at the Royal Opera House and at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Current student Imogen Mcintosh-Roffey was the winner of the Set Design category in 2019. The Uckfield teenager studied A-Level Art in Lewes before starting an Art Foundation diploma at the Eastbourne campus this year. Her winning design was themed around Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Imogen said, “I created a set that featured distorted buildings, a plastic gobo projection, and had a clear contrast between dark and light. This helped me to reflect the overwhelming and violent nature of society and follow the Director’s brief to create a vibrant, powerful and relatable narrative to today’s teenagers.

“It was an exceptional competition to be a part of and win. Having the chance to work on live briefs, like this one, and having an extremely supportive network of tutors helped me to explore and produce some of my best work.”

The winners will be announced on the Royal Opera House website on Friday 6th March at midday. The winners from each category will be invited to a winners’ exhibition on Friday 27th March and get an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Royal Opera House. The winning artists will have their work displayed in the ROH’s Linbury Foyer until 7th April 2020.

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