Over the past five years I've designed three shows for safeword, a company I founded with Brandon Crone and Alex Dault. I also co-produce, production manage, design promo material, curate the Safe Words festival, and wrangle the boys.

Myself, Alex Dault and Brandon Crone. Photo by Christine Buijis

Myself, Alex Dault and Brandon Crone. Photo by Christine Buijis


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March 2015

This set was immersive from the first time the audience walked into the theatre. The lobby was transformed into a bare, black space, and an entrance to the theatre had the address of the home on it. From there, they passed into the owner’s yard, a tangle of junk, forestry, tables, chairs and random objects.

The set from the show itself was in a large blanket fort, with fabric walls and a fabric roof. The audience entered through a doorway, and found their seating in the living room. The rest of the bungalow home was done up with kitchen sink realism, as if it were the home of a long-time bachelor well into retirement.

Overall, the immersive set took the audience on the same journey the character of Mike goes on, traveling through a strange and disorienting landscape to get to the safety of his uncle’s home.

Performed at the Storefront Theatre, Toronto

PLAYWRIGHT:  Brandon Crone
DIRECTOR:  Luke Brown
SCENOGRAPHY:  Claire Hill
COSTUMES:   Julia Matias
LIGHTING:   Melissa Joakim
PRODUCER:   Alex Dault

FEATURING: Clint Butler, Jakob Ehman, Nicholas Rice

PHOTOGRAPHY:  John Gundy

Inspiration & Process

Crone and I discussed the design for this show for nearly two years while it was in development. I told him I was interested in setting it in a blanket fort, and he let me run with the idea. I was drawn to the idea of making the audience go on a journey to get to the play from my work in site specific theatre, and because Crone wrote the play with parallels to Little Red Riding Hood. I wanted to show how the character of Mike needed to find a safe space at his uncle's house, but how it wasn't what it seemed.

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Trailer


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October 2013

The set created an immersive, intimate environment that enveloped the audience. We called it the Nest, and built it entirely from salvages sticks, twigs, and branches during the fall.
Performed at hub14, Toronto

PLAYWRIGHT & DIRECTOR:   Brandon Crone
FEATURING:   Jakob Ehman, Karen Slater, Thomas Gough
SCENOGRAPHY (S/L/C):   Claire Hill
PRODUCER:   Alex Dault
PHOTOGRAPHY:   John Gundy

Inspiration & Process


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February 2013

We performed at hub14, an empty space with very little theatrical infrastructure. The set needed to disassemble every night, and all props and costumes were stored after every evening. I worked around the idea that the curtains would change the set up of the room, rather than the furniture moving throughout to create different spaces. Thus, the furniture remained stationary and the backdrops moved around to create different configurations, and the rooms changed based on the entrances the characters used. Thus the USL door designated one room, the USR another, and the centre aisle another. I drew all the curtains by hand, with marker.

PLAYWRIGHT & DIRECTOR:   Brandon Crone
FEATURING:   Leah Holder, Jakob Ehman, John Fray, Kieran Friesnel, Alex Dault
SCENOGRAPHY:   Claire Hill
PRODUCER:   Alex Dault
STAGE MANAGER:    Jen Mills
PHOTOGRAPHY:   Lara Noell

Trailer for Turtleneck