Meet the Designer: Tracy Grant Lord

Tracy Grant Lord returns as the set and costume designer for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s upcoming production of a ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, choreographed by the late Liam Scarlett (2021).

She is a world leading New Zealand scenographer whose previous works with the RNZB include ‘The Firebird’ by Loughlan Prior (2021), ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ by Liam Scarlett (2015), ‘Cinderella’ by Christopher Hampson (2007) and ‘Ihi FrENZy’ by Mark Baldwin (2001).

Read more below about Tracy’s creative process back in 2015. You can also watch her talk about her designs for the recent production of ‘The Firebird’ by Loughlan Prior (2021).


It is yet another career highlight for me to be back working with the Royal New Zealand Ballet on this very exciting new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The commitment this company has toward making a work of the highest quality always gives me, as one of the creators of the work, immense support and opportunity. This, combined with the inspiringly beautiful Mendelssohn and exceptional talent of Liam Scarlett and his clarity of vision, means we have enjoyed a very successful production period.

Liam asked me to begin my design task with the mystical story of Oberon and Titania and their fairy world, which is disturbed this particular evening, by the lovers and their rustical mates from the real world. The resulting confusion and mayhem, that we all know so well, describes one of the most magical of Shakespeare’s stories. The ballet unfolds over the course of a single night, in the forest, at the centre of a fairy dell. This is where the fairies live and work and play, inside a very particular kind of architecture. The structural forms of the world are derived from their activities inside it. Oberon has a bridge from which he can oversee his domain, Puck is able to run and climb and appear from anywhere and the fairies all have their homes here. We watch the story illuminated by a night sky and the nature of this light, cast on the forest from the moon and stars, in turn, reveals the decoration and palette of the fairy world. In control of lighting this very special place is the wonderful Kendall Smith. He paints it as Oberon majestically gestures it to be or as the rustics rudely intrude with their ungainly ways.

The magic has been a while in the planning and has been carefully realised by some clever people. The design includes particular structural, decorative and technical elements that exist only for this production and have all been developed and manufactured in the company workshops. I would particularly like to thank Pfeiff, James, Esther and Hank for their rock star good looks and wardrobe talent and Drew, Gavin, Joe, Nicole, Ivan and the solid machismo that is the workshop team for everything that they have contributed to this show. Plus, of course, a very special thank you to Amanda, Francesco and Kat for working their particular magic.

Tracy Grant Lord, August 2015

Tracy Grant Lord (2) Photo #1: Tracy Grant Lord. Photo #2: Ellie Richards, 2015. Photo #3: Stephen A’Court.
RNZB_AMidsummerNightsDream_Lights_wardrobe Photo #1: Tracy Grant Lord. Photo #2: Ellie Richards, 2015. Photo #3: Stephen A’Court. CX899crop out Kirby Photo #1: Tracy Grant Lord. Photo #2: Ellie Richards, 2015. Photo #3: Stephen A’Court.

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