Mollie’s make-up designs secure her Opera prize

A STUDENT from the Thurrock Campus of South Essex College has triumphed in a national competition set by the Royal Opera House.

The Royal Opera House Design Challenge was open students to the National Skills Academy Founder Colleges in the UK and asked students to prove themselves in areas including make-up and wigs, costume marketing, educational resources or set design.

Extended Diploma in Production Arts (Design) student, Mollie Gibb, 17 from Rochford won first place in the hair, wig and make-up category. Mollie impressed the judges will her make-up and hair design ideas for characters from Puccini’s opera Tosca.

Over 300 students from across the country entered with 29 being shortlisted in the five categories. Talented South Essex College students dominated the make-up and wigs category with four of the five shortlisted entries coming from Production Arts (Design) students Rianna Devonshire, 18, from Grays, Rachael Tench, 18, from Leigh, Starr Mumford, 17, from Billericay and overall winner Mollie.

Of her accolade, Mollie said: “The design challenge was a fun experience and helped to give me a real insight of working in industry. It gave me the opportunity to work from a script, assess the characters and storyline and design and interpret it into my own make-up designs. It also allowed me to watch an opera which I’d never done before.”

Winners of the Design Challenge were announced by The Royal Opera House’s Director, Kasper Holton, following the Matinee performance of Tosca in Covent Garden. Mollie’s efforts were rewarded with the opportunity of a tailor-made behind the scenes experience at the Royal Opera House.

Course Team Leader Tara Thomas commented: “The Design Challenge was a perfect opportunity for students to use the skills they have developed on the course and to use them on a live brief.  To be able to work so closely with The Royal Opera House and National Skills Academy is a fantastic opportunity. All students produced some amazing designs and congratulations to Mollie on a well-deserved first place.”

Gabrielle Forster-Still, Education Manager, Royal Opera House, added: “The judging panel has been very impressed with the high standard and variety of the entries for the Tosca Design Challenge. We are excited to be working with such talented, young creative students from the widest network of NSA Founder Colleges since the challenge began in 2011.”

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