UWTSD Lecturer designs new show for Fio theatre company


Stacey-Jo Atkinson, Programme Director of the Theatre Design and Production degree course at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David is currently working with Cardiff-based theatre company Fio on its forthcoming tour of The Mountaintop.

The Mountaintop

Fio works across the UK as well as internationally, bringing world class socio-political stories to local audiences. They make theatre that celebrates individuality, tearing down stereotypes and offering everybody a chance to make their mark in the world.

The Mountaintop - the company’s most recent production - was first staged in The Other Room in Cardiff last year but thanks to funding from both Arts Council Wales and Creu Cymru, the production will now tour to six venues across Wales following a preview at a special Race Awareness Event at the Senedd.

The Mountaintop is written by Katori Hall and directed by Abdul Shayek. It is the fictional depiction of the Reverend Martin Luther King's last night on earth before his assassination on April 4, 1968. Set in a motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, an exhausted King returns from a prophetic speech during the sanitation workers’ strike and is visited by a mysterious maid, Camae, with a much greater mission than delivering his coffee.

“This is a fantastic show to be part of,” says Stacey-Jo. “It makes you realise how relevant the themes are, especially today and how little has changed in terms of prejudice and race.

“The entire play is set in a motel room – a room which today makes up part of the National Civil Rights Museum. In terms of the design, I wanted to play with the idea of the set feeling like an exhibit, of it feeling that it’s behind glass and of being a snap-shot in time. I wanted to give the audience a warped sense of perspective so I’ve designed it with a sense of the walls closing in.

“It’s been great to work on this production and a joy to work with a company that has strong aims and beliefs and that’s trying to make a difference.”

The Mountaintop

Stacey-Jo runs the popular BA Theatre Design and Production at UWTSD whilst still practising as a freelance designer and maker.  She is also co-founder of the production company Headstrong Theatrical Services and her professional work includes designing for Theatr Na n’Og, Taking Flight Theatre as well as set construction for Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, Boomerang (S4C), Welsh National Opera and many more.

Stacey-Jo’s experience of working in the theatre industry allows her to teach what’s current and relevant to the students and means that they’re being taught by highly regarded professionals - it also ensures that all graduates are industry ready.

“I’m a strong believer that if you’re teaching it, you’re involved in it.  I feel passionately that by continuing with my professional practice, I’m able to give students the benefit of my recent experiences and ensure that their learning is relevant and very much industry-focused.”

Also involved are Shane Nickels (Producer) and Dave Atkinson (Technical Manager) who are both lecturers within the Performing Arts department on UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus.

“We can’t wait for the students to see the show when it visits the Halliwell Theatre on the Carmarthen campus on October 5th (7pm) - it will be a great opportunity for them to see our work on stage.”

The Mountaintop will tour the length and breadth of Wales this autumn, starting in Powys Dance in Llandrindod on October 3rd before visiting UWTSD’s Halliwell Theatre on the 5th; Span Arts in Narberth on the 7th; the Blackwood Miner’s Institute from the 10th – 13th; the Newport Riverfront Theatre on October 18th and 19th; Pontio in Bangor on the 24th before finishing at the Ffwrnes in Llanelli on October 26th and 27th.  For further information about the tour, email shane@wearefio.co.uk

To find out more about the BA Theatre Design and Production course, you can contact Stacey-Jo directly by emailing s.atkinson@uwtsd.ac.uk

Further Information

For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies by emailing sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk / 01267 676908 / 07449 998476