Northern Ballet, the touring ballet company from Leeds, immersed its audience in the mystical underwater world of the well-known tale by Hans Christian Andersen: The Little Mermaid. Set designer Kimie Nakano kept things simple by creating two contrasting worlds of land and sea featuring AluShape molding cloth and GiantMirror by ShowTex.
Diving into glassless mirror foil
A 7m high by 12.5m wide glassless mirror foil instantly transformed the stage into an impressive underwater scene. By covering the transparent mirror with abstract textured artwork, it effectively created the illusion of sea foliage and evoked a dark deep-sea atmosphere that perfectly illustrated the aquatic mood!
Colour-washed AluShape backdrop
ShowTex also confectioned an equally large Alushape Cretonne backdrop, colourfully lit up to produce either an ocean blue or a sandy beach effect. The sturdy but flexible molding cloth catches the light very beautifully and transformed from a solid rock formation into a restless ocean in the blink of an eye!
Versatile set design
To guarantee a harmonious set, both backdrops were accompanied by 2 mobile set pieces, covered with AluShape on one side and GiantMirror on the other. As they moved around throughout the play, the two-sided carts allowed the ballet to adapt each scene to the needs of the play. The AluShape side, resembling rock walls, represented the land where the humans live, while the mirror side submerged the dancers in water.
As the story alternated between earth and sea, the use of both AluShape and GiantMirror, combined with lighting, enabled the production to swap from one world to another without any difficult scene shifts!