In 2014 Anna was the Scenic and Projection Designer for Second Afterlife written by Ralph McCubbin Howell and directed by Kerryn Palmer. She had recently graduated from Victoria University with a first class honours degree in film and theatre.
Following her involvement in Y&H Anna decided she needed to learn more about scenic design and that lead to her applying for Graduate school in America. She was accepted on a scholarship to do a Masters of Fine Arts in Scenic Design at the University of California, San Diego.
During her three years at UCSD she designed the sets and projections for about eight University shows as well as doing a professional residency at the La Jolla Playhouse, one of the nations most renowned regional theatres. She became an Assistant Scenic Designer to Tony Nominated Scenic Designer Robert Brill and went on to work with him on two world premiere musicals, Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations and SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical. She assisted Robert on both these musicals from their premiere runs in Berkeley and San Diego all the way to their Broadway Debuts in New York City.
Since graduating Anna moved up to Los Angeles and has been a working scenic and projection designer, working on 12 shows in 12 months all around Los Angeles, San Diego, and all the way out in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has designed musicals, world premiere plays and even a play with 40 vintage cars and the audience driving around a 77,000-square foot convention centre in golf carts!
You can see all her designs on her website www.annarobinson.design
Here’s a bit more from Anna about her journey:
The first step in my path to where I am today was taking the only two scenography classes at Victoria University. This is where I got my first design produced and built for the 3rd year production. This started it all. My experimentation with projections and set design in Y&H launched an aesthetic and style that I was interested in, and then my eagerness to learn more about scenic design is what spurred my desire to come over to America for Graduate school. Right now, the people I am working with, the connections I have made, the jobs I am getting are all a direct result of being at UCSD (University of California, San Diego). Also, a lot of this business is about collaborating with people. Being a team player and being a nice person. I have definitely had to learn to hustle a bit harder in America but it still comes down to being the type of person somebody perhaps a director wants to work with.
I would say to find something you are interested in or passionate about and then invest your time into it! I was really passionate about projection design and so I researched it daily, watched videos, read articles, learnt so much about it before even using it in performance. When it came time to use it in Y&H I knew what I wanted things to look and feel like for the audience and I was in an environment where I could continually try new things and figure out how to achieve my goals. If you’re interested in design, then a huge part of our job is to research textually and visually so that what we present to an audience on stage has a way to tell the story of the play just as much as the dialogue of the script.