New College Swindon Student wins design competition from Welsh National Opera!

26 May 2021

New College Swindon student, Cameron Paulizky-Bowie, has won a major competition for Welsh National Opera by designing a theatre set using “immersive technology”. He is the first winner of this category as it has not been included in the competing before.

The Welsh National Opera Design Challenge, now in its fourth year, is an opportunity for students to apply their skills and creativity to a set design task set by industry professionals working for Welsh National Opera and Cardiff Theatrical Services.

Exclusively for students from colleges that are members of the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural, applicants can be from any subject discipline and need no prior knowledge or experience of set design or theatre. They just need to follow the brief and develop a response showing their creative interpretation of a Director’s Vision.

This year, students were tasked with designing a set for the opera Tosca and was the first year where judges actively encouraged submissions using immersive technology. Entrants were judged on a range of criteria including: an informed design process; creative interpretation; and technical and staging practicality. The judging panel was made up of industry professionals from Welsh National Opera and Cardiff Theatrical Services, including members of the technical and design teams.

The standard of entries was very high, but winners in both categories were selected as:

Category 1: 2D Design - Barbara Green and Damian Porucznik, Cardiff and Vale College

Category 2: Immersive Technology - Cameron Paulizky-Bowie, New College Swindon

Cameron is 1 year into his 2 year HND in Art and Design (Textiles), studying at Queens Drive Campus.

Daniel Hazelton, who is a Course Leader for A level Graphic Design & Illustration, Product Design (3D) at New College Swindon said, “Cameron has achieved a great deal with this competition and has learned so much during the process. It has been a pleasure helping him explore the exciting technology of CAD and Augmented Reality. Taking on Tosca was an exciting adventure. As a textile course we were keen to be involved with this competition from a surface design perspective, broadening the students' experience. It was a wonderful opportunity to work across disciplines.”

Cameron said, “To really feel every part of the set I decided to use augmented reality with the help of Vectary. This really helped me immerse myself within the opera and helped me draw in the 1800s beauty”.

“The experience I have gained through designing this set is something that I will be able to take with me. I had produced designs in various settings before but starting my set designing with such an iconic opera was incredibly enriching and rewarding.”

Speaking about the competition, Jan Michaelis, Technical Director for WNO said,

“As industry professionals from Welsh National Opera, we were inspired to see the quality of entries submitted for this year’s design challenge. It is a huge credit to the students and tutors that our job in finding the winning entries was made particularly difficult this year. In a year in which it was extremely hard for everyone in the educational sector they have proven that creativity, skill and ability is trying to stream into our industry and can surpass al hurdles.

“The development towards digital presentations was inspiring to see as was the skill employed in making physical models and sketches for the presentations. This has been the strongest year of entrants and we would like to extend our thanks to everyone who has participated.”

Winners are awarded a framed print of the original Tosca poster from 1900, and a voucher for art supplies.