Skip to content

Meet the Artists: Bill Hales

Bill with the set modelName: Bill Hales

Role on Nothing But Sky: Lighting Designer, Co-Set Designer, Audio Avatar

How did you first get connected to The Only Animal?

Colin emailed me to talk (complain?) about Kendra's desire to do a play in a 44' diameter igloo. The world's biggest igloo had collapsed at 32'. I suggested he look at a geodesic dome. Later that year Colin and I had finished a scuba dive in Nanaimo and were meeting with Kendra and Eric to look at a dome. Kendra was explaining the project and the concept of using a dome to me when Colin said that it was my idea to try a dome. I explained that I was a theatre technician and designer and not not just a scuba bum (my true dream) and within a couple of minutes I was on NiX as the lighting designer.

How long have you been working on Nothing But Sky?

Pretty much from the beginning.

Bill and Kendra making decisions in rehearsal


Tell me a little bit about the set design process working with The Only Animal. I understand that generally TOA requires a set before they write the script.

The problem was not so much that the set had to be designed before the script but the set is one big projection surface or a combination of projection surfaces, which is why the set is completely white. Trying to provide multiple playing areas and good surfaces to project on both front and back, the design went through about 12 variations. A major consideration was also the size and placement of the surfaces as throw distances and image size were of great concern. A lot of time was spent communicating with Keith about these challenges.

Can you tell me about some of the versions of the set that you have gone through before deciding on the current version?

The set has been many combinations of projection surfaces and many levels. The 45 degree ramp was a great projection surface but a huge problem for the actors, thankfully the ramp lasted a very short time. During the workshop process we worked with a series of boxes and platforms and screens which we changed every night of the workshop week. The next step was to draft the design, there are 11 different set designs on file before we came up with the present design which is still undergoing small changes.

What are you most excited to see come to fruition over the next few weeks?

Seeing the lighting design work with the projections. Integrating the two is a big challenge.

Here are a few of the different looks that were considered for the set design:

The Only Animal creates cultivates and inspires theatre work that arises from a deep engagement with place.