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WSD2017|Ariel As Harpy
1-9 July.Taipei, Taiwan
An extraordinary festival of performance design, including exhibitions, performances
and diverse events,attracted over 15,000 visitors from 71 countries.


Professional Designers


Donatella Barbieri

Ariel As Harpy

Selected Category: Alternative

Category: Alternative

Design Statement

The brief was to produce a costume that conveyed Shakespeare’s own time through material and form, considering the play was written for one of the first in-door public theatre spaces Shakespeare had access to. As such the play is highly scenographic, opening with a ship-wreck. The apparition of Harpy is a fantastically exciting costume moment. The research journey initially revealed the meaning of Harpy – half predatory bird and half woman - in ancient myth, a channeling of pure female anger, of which Prospero makes ample use in his text. Research included the study of grotesque carnivalesque costumes from the Renaissance, and the meeting of street theatre and court theatre that the play invited. References to painters whose work articulates the body through material included the work of Archiboldo, Baroque court masques, the costumes of German street carnivals in the 1580s, the construction of winged effigies and female costume of the time. The use of willow in the frames of corsets and crinolines was extended into wings, while vortexes made out of book pages represented ‘weaponized’ feathers and the transformative use of Prospero’s book knowledge.

I would like to propose the full costume be installed in WSD as a hanging form.


Donatella Barbieri

Donatella Barbieri has pioneered methodologies for performance-making through costume in her practice, teaching and writing. A scenographer with a practice stretching back over a few decades, she trained under Pamela Howard and Sally Jacobs, and has explored numerous ways of exposing costume’s ability to embody the human condition. She is the author of Costume in Performance: Materiality, Culture and the Body (2017), and she founded Studies in Costume and Performance, the first research journal to focus entirely on costume for performance. Barbieri has led the curation of Costume in Action at WSD13, thirty costume practice-centered events, as well as a number of other projects, most of which have produced both physical and textual outcomes. They include: Encounters in the Archive, displayed at the V&A (2012) and currently online; physical costume laboratoires, including Wearing Space, PQ15 and Olso 2016; costume-based performances: Old into New at PQ11, and - with DAMU - LES/Forest, Prague PQ07; and Designs for the Performer, PQ03, Theatre Museum, London, and UK national tour (2002-2005). In 2010 she was awarded the joint V&A and LCF Research Fellowship. She teaches on the MA Costume Design for Performance, which she founded, and supervises PhDs at London College of Fashion.

Email Address: d.barbieri@arts.ac.uk

Theatre Company Shakespeare in Ten Acts

The Premiere Date of Production 2016-04-14

The Premiere Space of Production British Library

Author Based on The Tempest By William Shakespeare

Director/ Choreographer Curator: Zoe Wilcox

Set Designer Nissen Richards Studio

Lighting Designer Selina Hughes

Costume Designer Donatella Barbieri

Sound Designer n/a

Projection and Multi-Media Designer n/a

Other Creative Collaborator/s This costume installation was specially created through a design process that included a spatial, embodied costume and lighting collaboration, working on The Tempest's Act 3, Scene 3, to coalesce the evocative moment of the apparition of Ariel as Harpy in the experiential space of the exhibition. Re-reading the moment as a frozen state, Harpy’s costume channels Prospero’s anger and desire for revenge against the usurping court.
For the British Library
Curator: Zoe Wilcox
Production Management of the exhibition: Alex Kavanah and Susan Dymond
Flying expert: Jonathan Hoskins

For Nissen Richards Studio
Pippa Nissen: Architect and Scenographer
Ifigeneia Liangi

Donatella Barbieri's Assistant and Costume Supervisor: Bronya Arciszewska
Wicker and Willow construction consultant: John Page
Design Assistant: Ming Sun
Assistant makers include Sarah Lovell, Natalie Ioannou and Adam Borowski