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Creative Kingston University illustration and animation students design Christmas tree with a difference to decorate The Old Vic theatre

Posted Friday 18 December 2015

Creative Kingston University illustration and animation students design Christmas tree with a difference to decorate The Old Vic theatre

When The Old Vic theatre launched a hunt for an alternative Christmas tree this festive season, creative Kingston University students were quick to rise to the challenge. More than 100 illustration and animation students set to work coming up with ideas to help the theatre decorate its foyer in a sustainable style reflecting the environmental theme of its first ever stage production of The Lorax by Dr Seuss.

With the much-loved children's story highlighting the importance of saving trees, consequently ruling out installation of a traditional spruce, The Old Vic turned to the University's Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture for help with its quest for a substitute. Second year BA(Hons) Illustration Animation students promptly set to work coming up with concepts under the watchful eye of lecturer Mark Harris, who supervised the project alongside Professor Rebecca Davies and alumna Natalie Wyle. Their ideas led to 26 proposals, with three shortlisted and presented to staff at the iconic stage venue.The strands of wool used to create the Christmas tree outline match the colours in Dr Seuss\'s The Lorax.The strands of wool used to create the Christmas tree outline match the colours in Dr Seuss's The Lorax. "We were all really impressed by the novel solutions the students came up with," Mr Harris said. "The winning design was an unusual take on a traditional Christmas tree, consisting of more than 250 colourful strands of wool suspended to create the shape of a tree in negative."

Laura Brown and Martha Halliday, both 20, and Denisa Costin, 21, dreamed up the winning design. The idea had been inspired by the space left behind when a tree had been chopped down, which linked to the themes and morals of The Lorax, Laura explained. "The creation has been a long process, with lots of problem solving and hard work, but we're incredibly proud of the finished piece and the reception it's received," she said.

The students' colourful creation will be seen by more than 30,000 people visiting the Old Vic to watch The Lorax this Christmas. The theatre's chief executive, Kate Varah, was full of praise for the students' work. "It was an inspired idea and we all love the design," she said. "The tree is now taking pride of place in our foyer and looks spectacular."

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