WHEN Jasmine Swan set about designing the costumes and sets for the Mercury Theatre's latest pantomime she knew they needed to push the boundaries. 

Described as a "magical" and "true-love hit" the theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty boasts incredible sets and stunning outfits. 

In this version of Sleeping Beauty, Princess Luna is turning 18 and as well as being unaware of her true royalty, wants to make her home-kingdom 'Colchesteria' a fairer and happier place.  

Created by the award-winning designer Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty's set design was inspired by both Doctor Suess and Disney's Frozen.

Jasmine, who studied Theatre Performance design at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, said of Mercury Theatre and herself: "We're really interested in pushing the boundaries of what the aesthetic of panto can be compared to traditional pantomimes."

She said audience expectations gets higher each year for set design and added that Mercury Theatre was "amazing at fostering that sense of community". 

Gazette: Talent - A model of Sleeping Beauty's 'Ice Palace'Talent - A model of Sleeping Beauty's 'Ice Palace' (Image: Mercury Theatre)

Jasmine worked with the "very talented" scenic backdrop artist Anya Allin on the artwork, including superimposing "our evil dictator's face and iconic red horn" onto famous artworks in a playful way. 

Further in this evil lair, hidden doors were made - necessary for the final act chase scene - through the cloth being printed and then framed out by the Mercury workshop to ensure it was a "surprise".  

Gazette: Storyteller - Set & Costume Designer Jasmine Swan Storyteller - Set & Costume Designer Jasmine Swan (Image: Mercury Theatre)

The set will be donated to fund next year's production but if Jasmine had to choose one piece to keep it would be Princess Luna's "sparkly fluffy crown" that she gets to wear when she becomes Queen.

Luna's crown was made out of the same "light heat mouldable foam" as the wigs - a material which enables the "curly effect" - like a whipped ice-cream.

As a "wig-topper", the crown can slot easily onto Luna's existing wig, and the "brilliant" wigs were custom made to each actor's scalp by Lucinda Cawdron. 

Gazette: Colour - Every character or chorus member has a specific colour to convey meaningColour - Every character or chorus member has a specific colour to convey meaning (Image: Mercury Theatre)


In regards to the "collaborative" process going back and forth with writer Guy Unsworth and director Ryan McByrde, Jasmine said: "The skeleton of the story was there initially when we started the design process in March, but since then it was a symbiotic process where design ideas can then influence elements of script and vice versa."

Jasmine said how Antony Stuart-Hicks, or "Ash", "really fed into the final costumes of the show" as Dame Maris Piper, a chance for "so many" potato possibilities. 

Gazette: Collaborative - Jasmine Swan (Left) and Jaimie Pruden with the costume made by Kitty PowerCollaborative - Jasmine Swan (Left) and Jaimie Pruden with the costume made by Kitty Power (Image: Mercury Theatre)

Jasmine explained how movement was key for the costumes, and added: "It was a collaborative process working with Corinna Vincent the Costume Supervisor and Rosie Mather the Choreographer, testing out various shape iterations to ensure the desired movement was possible."

The songs in the show, picked by musical director Paul Herbert and creative director Ryan McByrde, include Scouting for Girls' 'She's So lovely', 'Reach' by S Club 7 and 'Roar' by Katy Perry. 

Writer Guy Unsworth adapted the famous fairy tale and has also adapted Shakespeare's Julius Caesar to the modern-day. 

Antony Stuart-Hicks and Dale Superville together return as the mother-and-son Dame-and-sidekick duo. 

Free booster seats are available and 'Relaxed performances', where the lighting and sound effects will be reduced, are on Saturday January 6 at 2pm. 

Further adult performances with more "a little more risqué" content will be available from January. 

You can see more of Jasmine’s work here: www.casarotto.co.uk/clients/jasmine-swan