Magical experience for aspiring artist Natascha

Actors perform The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at Ilkley Playhouse

A student from Bradford College is made-up after earning the chance to work on a fantastical theatre production.

Aspiring special effects make-up artist Natascha Schnieden helped out on Ilkley Playhouse’s recent production of the C S Lewis classic, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Natascha, who is studying for a BA (Hons) degree in Media Make-Up with Special Effects, designed the looks of a number of key characters in the children’s favourite.

She created the prosthetic horns and ears for Mr Tumnus and the make-up for the White Witch and Mr and Mrs Beaver.

“I am wanting to go into theatre once I graduate so having this experience has been incredible for me to get an insight into the industry,” said Natascha.

“To make the ears and horns Mr Tumnus I started with casting the actor’s ears and from there sculpted and moulded in order to create the prosthetics.

“The other characters I deigned and applied make-up for were the Beavers and the White Witch. 

“Although an amateur company it is a great starting point of involvement for me. The cast and crew were wonderful to work with and very appreciative of the time I had dedicated to the project.”

A number of other students from the college’s Northern School of Creative Industries also helped bring to life the enchanted production set in the magical land of Narnia.

Lizzie Smart from the HND Production Arts made the mask for the wolf while Alex Watson, from the same course, designed and made the mask for Aslan the lion.

The college has a well-established link with Ilkley Playhouse which is mutually beneficial according to Damien O’Keeffe, the show’s director whose day job is head of the Northern School of Creative Industries at Bradford College.

“The ongoing relationship with Ilkley Playhouse provides the students with the opportunity to gain real, hands-on experience in many areas of theatre production,” he said.

“Since designing elements of the set, masks and key costumes for ‘Shakespeare in Hollywood’ in 2014, our students have had their work included in productions of ‘My Boy Jack’, ‘The Vortex’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and now ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’.

“The students have to work to tight timescales and budgets, as well as to high artistic standards.

“The reward is to see them grow in confidence and take pride in their work when it goes before an audience.”