Zia Holly is a freelance lighting and set designer. She is a B.A. graduate of Drama and Theatre Studies in Trinity College Dublin and was a participant on the Rough Magic SEEDS Programme 2012-2013.
Her work has included designs for performances as part of the Dublin Fringe, Edinburgh Fringe, Kilkenny Arts, Baboró and 10 Days In Dublin festivals, as well as assistant design credits for performances on the West End and in the Dublin and Belfast Theatre Festivals.
Designers she has assisted include Paul Keogan, Sinead McKenna, Aedín Cosgrove, Ciaran Bagnall and Jon Clarke. She has worked as a technician both in Ireland and internationally, though her real passion lies in design and the creative process.
The aim with the design for BROADENING was to create a unique and immersive experience for the audience. The play was inspired by the Stanford social experiments of the 1970s and we wanted to create a space that would feel like a laboratory or a cage. The concept of the plastic sheeted walls was to replicate those laboratory or quarantine tents popular in Hollywood horror and sci-fi films.
By placing the audience within the set itself we hoped to make the audience feel like they were subjected to the experiment within the play or at least privy or implicated somehow. The audience was seated in a single row around the perimeter of the space, which we hoped would make each member feel vulnerable and on show. There is nowhere to hide within this set.
The lighting and set design were always a joint concept. Florescent bulbs lined the outside of the set walls top and bottom. Harsh florescent lighting was key in simulating an industrial feeling and by isolating different combinations of fluorescent bulbs within the set I could demarcate different areas. Controlling the flicker of each fluorescent bulb independently allowed me to create a wide range of suitably unsettling and dramatic effects.