Meet the cast and creative teams behind Opera Holland Park’s 2022 Season. Over the coming weeks, we’ll introduce the singers, directors, conductors and crews at the heart of our productions this summer.
Zsofia Sarosi is our Auditorium Design Assistant, and this year her focus has been on sourcing, up-cycling and preparing the chairs for the auditorium. With less than 2 weeks until the season opens, and as the Design team make their final touches to the theatre, we caught up with Zsofia to chat about all things chairs.
Can you introduce us to your role at OHP?
I am the Auditorium Design Assistant, which means I help source, reupholster and generally fix up the 700 preloved chairs that make up the auditorium seating this season.
How did you get into this role?
My relationship with OHP started as a Production Assistant Intern in 2020 during the pandemic. At the time I was still studying at UAL to become a Theatre Designer and last year, just before graduation, I was asked to help paint and reupholster some of the chairs we were using then. This year I came back being given more responsibility and authority in terms of the look of the seating, which was very exciting.
What aspects of this project do you enjoy the most?
It’s been a pleasure going treasure hunting for vintage chairs, knowing they were probably decorative in someone’s home, imagining how many places they must have come from and how I get to prepare them for our auditorium. They all have history and now have been given a new purpose.
Is there any one chair with a particularly exciting or interesting background?
The oldest chair in the bunch to our knowledge was made circa 1790 and had served one of our supporters for 15 years!
Can you tell us about sourcing and up-cycling the chairs for this season at OHP?
The chairs have come from various places, some of our trusty sources have been Think Vintage Warehouse in Surrey and Inn-Vogue Second Hand Furniture in Nottinghamshire. We’ve also received donations from friends. This year the graduating students from UAL have also helped me to reupholster and fix up some of the chairs.
How does your background in design influence you in this project?
The steps it took us to pull this auditorium together are quite similar to the production process when it comes to designing for stage, just in a different context. I think it’s important to work on a wide array of projects because they will always influence each other and teach you something.
Is there something surprising about this project that you didn’t expect?
Rather than designing something from thin air and then executing it exactly and according to a plan, when it comes to up-cycling and sourcing there is a lot of adapting. It’s a very organic, creative and experimental way of working.