The Australian Ballet

The Sleeping Beauty - The Design

The Sleeping Beauty

TAB The Sleeping Beauty Mc Allister Melbourne Photo Jeff Busby 2015 43 1

Design overview

Dozens of skilled artisans in our costume department worked tirelessly to realise Gabriela Tylesova’s sublime designs for David McAllister’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty. Slowly but surely, from a sea of plumes and velvets, beads and tulle, silks and faux fur, sequins, satins and braid, this beautiful production took shape. Tylesova’s costumes for The Sleeping Beauty are as intricate and detailed as haute couture. The tutus for the fairies who bestow gifts on the baby Princess Aurora are scattered with crystals, with cut-out lace adorned with beads, and with fabric petals stitched one by one onto the top layers of the tulle skirts.

Read about the designs

TAB The Sleeping Beauty Mc Allister Sydney Photo Daniel Boud 2017 34 1
TAB The Sleeping Beauty Mc Allister Brisbane Photo Kate Longley 2017 70 1

The lilac fairy tutu

  • The Lilac Fairy tutu took a month to make. It is made of nylon net and silk dupion.
  • Five dancers played The Lilac Fairy but only two tutus were made. These had many different fastenings to accommodate the different dancers' sizes.
  • The wigs were handmade by The Australian Ballet’s resident Wigmaker Alison Kidd. Alison is the full-time wigmaker of the company and for The Sleeping Beauty she created 89 wigs out of yak hair.
  • Some, wigs, like the Queen’s, were handmade; others were adapted from base wigs and had a handmade front added.
Read about making the costumes
TAB The Sleeping Beauty Mc Allister Melbourne Photo Jeff Busby 2015 14 1

Garland dancer costume

  • Each of the 15 identical Garland Dancer costumes took three weeks to create and featured individual flower designs, which were made by an external company from the fabric Gabriela chose.
  • Each costumes weighs about five kilos.
  • Gabriela, the designer of The Sleeping Beauty, used a pastel palette of floral colours that complemented the gold and cream of the set. The male costumes feature the green of the flower stems, referenced by thorns on their cuffs.
  • The whole combination makes for a rich, opulent and glittering production that used 17th-century Baroque references.
Read about David's process

Gabriela Tylesova

Costume and set designer

Gabriela Tylesova is an award-winning, internationally acclaimed designer. Her awards include: Helpmann Award for Best Set Design in 2009, 2011 and 2014; Helpmann Award for Best Costume Design in 2011, 2012 and 2014; Green Room Award for Best Set Design in 2003 and 2011; Green Room Award for Best Costume Design in 2002, 2006 and 2011; Australian Production Design Guild Award for Best Set Design in 2012; Australian Production Design Guild Award for Best Costume Design in 2012 and 2014; Sydney Theatre Award for Best Costume Design in 2012 and 2013; and Sydney Theatre Award for Best Set Design in 2013.

Some of Gabriela’s career highlights include designing Love Never Dies for Really Useful Group; Cosi Fan Tutte, Sweeney Todd, L’elisir D’amore, Baroque Masterworks, Salome, Il Turco In Italia and The Rabbits for Opera Australia; The Visit, Cyrano De Bergerac, The Pillowman, Urinetown, and Tomfoolery for Melbourne Theatre Company; Macbeth, Fireface, Attempts On Her Life, Volpone, This Little Piggy and Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead for Sydney Theatre Company; Schéhérazade for The Australian Ballet; Boomerang and Of Earth And Sky for Bangarra Dance Theatre; Can we Afford This/The Cost of Living for DV8 Physical Theatre (Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival); A Funny Thing Happened on the Way To the Forum for Gordon Frost Organisation; and the Broadway musical adaptation of First Wives Club (USA).

Gabriela recently worked on Love Never Dies for Germany and USA and the Queensland Theatre Company’s musical Ladies In Black, directed by Simon Phillips. Gabriela is also Creative Director of Aviatrix, a multi-national design house specialising in luxury woven textiles, wall coverings, Bohemian crystalware and bone china.

Jon Buswell

Lighting designer

Jon Buswell has designed lighting for well over 100 productions in the UK, Europe and Australia. A graduate of Croydon School of Art in the UK, Jon first worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company before becoming a freelance designer in 1997, working across all disciplines of the performing arts.

His previous lighting designs for The Australian Ballet include Raymonda, Constant Variants, Symphonie Fantastique, Night Path and Monument. His recent ballet work also includes La Sylphide, Coppélia and Cinderella (West Australian Ballet), and The Sleeping Beauty and Coppélia (Queensland Ballet). Recent theatre work includes Glengarry Glen Ross, Blithe Spirit, The Seagull, Twelfth Night and Madagascar (Black Swan State Theatre Company) and Signs of Life (Black Swan / Sydney Theatre Company co-production).

His overseas work includes Lady Windemere’s Fan with Vanessa Redgrave, and The Royal Family with Judi Dench (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Vagina Monologues (The Royal Court at the New Ambassadors Theatre), My Brilliant Divorce with Dawn French (Apollo Theatre) in the UK, Otello (Lyric Opera of Chicago), The Magic Flute, Oedipus Rex and Gianni Schicchi (Royal College of Music), The Flying Dutchman (New Zealand Opera), The Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, A Christmas Carol and Swan Lake (Royal New Zealand Ballet), and Pinocchio (Opera du Rhin / West Australian Ballet).

Jon has also worked as lighting designer for televised features, including the UEFA Gala Awards 2000 and Nutcracker Sweeties for Birmingham Royal Ballet and the BBC. He has also worked as visiting lecturer for The University of Central England in Birmingham and the Victorian College of the Arts.

The Sleeping Beauty

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