Podcast chat with Award Winning Theatre Set Designer Max Jones

May 6, 2024 | Design Interiors, Interviews, News

Ulster American Woody Harrelson Andy Serkis Louisa Harland Theatre Play

I have chatted on the latest podcast with Award Winning Theatre Set Designer Max Jones about his work career and vast catalogue of design work at theatres including the RSC, The Old Vic, Shakespeare Globe and Regents Park and Associate Artist at Theatr Clywd in the UK and also designed productions at Theatre Cocoon in Tokyo.

Theatre Set Design Max Jones Ulster AmericanUlster American Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis, Louisa Harland, Theatre Set Design London

Recently I was lucky to see Ulster American written by David Ireland at Riverside Studios in London written by David Ireland and starring Woody Harrelson, Andy Serkis and Louisa Harland. Max designed a brilliant set for a genius play in my opinion. From entering the auditorium I was intrigued by his set that was framed with a strip of light. The setting itself was quite interior design which obviously drew me in but it also made total sense once the characters reveal themselves throughout the story. It was a real treat to get to ask Max all about this and the psychology behind it all.

As I am more predominantly from a television background where locations move venues a lot, I was keen to ask Max how he encompasses a whole ( and sometimes complex ) story in to one setting. We also talk about how his ideas manifest in to actual fruition including initial sketches and plans to scaled models. Who is involved in the process and how he communicates the design to the rest of the production and audience ultimately. Hearing about his favourite kind of venue to work in and why is also interesting.

York Mystery Plays Max Jones Set DesignYork Mystery Plays, York Cathedral, Max Jones Theatre Set DesignYork Mystery Plays, Costume Design Max Jones

One of Max’s biggest productions in terms of sheer scale is York Mystery Plays in York Minster which took a huge amount of time and work to put together. With such a big show in an unusual venue there is even more to consider including how do you ensure the audience all can get the best experience from it. So, Max tells me what they had did and why it was one of his proudest achievements.

Theatre Set Design Max JonesTheatre Set Costume Design Max Jones

Not only does Max design the sets, it is often also his responsibilty to create the costumes too which apparently is common place and makes sense really for continuity and making harmonious visuals but must involve so many aspects of the play. I didn’t know this as assumed this was the wardrobes department and so ask what this involves and how much research is required overall. These above are for Crime and Punishment which Max worked on at Theatre Cocoon in Tokyo which is another show and place he has really enjoyed being connected with.

Theatre Set Design Max Jones

The theatre is an alluring industry which often seems really glamorous but it is also known to be under funded with few design positions to share out but so Max gives good advice on how to get in to the world and create longevity. Also the skills that are important to have and where he learned all of his along the way.  I like that he is honest but also so positive and clearly loves his job. You can see all of his past productions on his website.

You can listen to the podcast on these channels.


To hear more of my Live Your Own Way episodes click here and please do subscribe if you’d like to keep up to date.

Image Credits: Image Credits: Ulster American – Max Jones and Johan Persson. York Mystery Plays – Max Jones, Duncan Lomax and Anthony Chapel – Ross. Crime and Punishment – Max Jones and Shinji Hosono



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