With the theatre shut down due to COVID-19, many artists, onstage and off, have found themselves losing not just their livelihoods but also their ability to engage with their art. But for theatre and television scenic designer Andy Walmsley, the youngest person to scenic design for Broadway at the age of 22 with Buddy, the sudden abundance of time allowed for a new way to tap into his creativity. Without restrictions or budgets, the artist decided to design for his dream productions.
“Like everyone else, my work dried up [due to the pandemic]. At first, I enjoyed the rest—I'm always juggling multiple shows and going 100 mph 7 days a week—but as the weeks rolled by, I was missing being creative," he says. "I decided I'd try to design a show isolated, without the usual collaboration process just for fun and to keep my creative muscles intact. I picked a show I've always wanted to design, Little Shop of Horrors, and spent a couple weeks creating a design. It was so good for my mental health having a world to disappear into, both mentally and visually, that I decided to follow with Mamma Mia!
“This process lifted my spirits so much that I decided to share the designs with a few director and producer friends via email and then on Instagram. The response was overwhelming, with people not only enjoying the designs but admiring my determination to not let COVID stop me from doing what I truly love. I’ve kept going and have been designing a new show every couple weeks for months now!"