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How we’ve transformed the magical Coppelia – A Mystery for summer

How we’ve transformed the magical Coppelia – A Mystery for summer

7th July 2021

Our backstage team have spent the past few weeks transforming the grounds of the New Vic into a spellbinding summery wonderland ready for performances of Coppelia – A Mystery from Friday 16 July to Saturday 7 August.

This unique adventure takes audiences on a journey from outside to inside the theatre and back again, through a woodland glade and down an inviting street of shops, to discover the curious secrets behind Dr Coppelius’ magical toyshop.

Originally due to take place over Christmas last year, but postponed due to restrictions around performances because of the coronavirus pandemic, our talented staff have been busy revamping the set to make it perfectly suited for summer.

So, how did they go about transforming the most Christmassy of Christmas shows? Well, the team reinstalled all the shop fronts from the Christmas version of the set… before adding some twists!

The designer of the show, Lis Evans, picked out some new canopies which have been added over the shop windows to help provide some shade from the sun.

Pictured: A digital sketch by Head of Design Lis Evans to illustrate some of the changes to the Coppelia set for summer.

Then some lovely window box planters were built, that our honorary ‘horticultural department’ planted up with some gorgeous summer plants to complement the ‘shops’ – there’s medicinal herbs outside the apothecary, and edible plants outside The Golden Pot.

Pictured: Freelance Carpenter Louise Ryder builds the planters to house some of our summer flowers and plants!

Along the pathway audiences will take are more planters, and tubs and trellises of sunflowers, sweet peas, nasturtiums and more. We have let the wild flowers outside the New Vic building grow as well as scattering seed.

Pictured: Head of Design Lis Evans doing some of the planting (with a very big bag of compost in tow!)

The stage management department have introduced some bee hives, borrowed from the North Staffordshire Beekeeping Association, and are in the process of decorating the sheds, which form part of the scene, with flower garlands. Meanwhile the technical department have been hanging strings of festoon lighting and flowery bunting over the walkway, to replace the fairy lights that were there, and complement the hung bird cages and baubles in the canopy.

To help our younger audience members really engage with the show and join in with the story we have hidden a variety of doll’s eyes in and around the route for people to spot on their journey…

Pictured: A digital sketch by Head of Design Lis Evans showing how the trees would be spruced up on the Coppelia set, and plants and flowers added.  

There’s been a few tweaks to the costumes too – mostly telling the actors that they don’t need to wear their thermals!

The New Vic is looking more and more summery every day, and we can’t wait to share this beautiful labour of love with you all in person.

Coppelia – A Mystery will be performed in and around the New Vic from Friday 16 July to Saturday 7 August 2021. Tickets are on sale now, priced £15.00 (£10.00 Concessions) and can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01782 717962 or online at

Article by Becky Loton

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