Tenderfoot is The Civic’s apprentice theatre programme for second level students. This year 17 schools and over 70 young people are participating virtually. Deirdre Dwyer is Tenderfoot’s set and costume design Mentor. Here she gives us an insight into Tenderfoot Online……

How do you teach set and costume design online?  That is what we, the team of nine young people and I, have been trying to figure out for the past week. Tenderfoot 2021 is a whole new and different process, with no gathering together in Civic this year we can’t touch fabrics and use sewing machines, instead we are meeting in zoom rooms to think about what design means and working out how to practice it in our own homes.

One of the first exercises we do every year is looking at images and analysing them, this is something that is just as easy to do in an online world. This is a key tool to begin to understand how visual artists and designers try to communicate ideas and make meaning through the visual languages of line, shape, colour, texture and balance. Learning about scale is not so easy virtually when it is hard to tell the true size of an object when proximity to the webcam can distort reality. Nonetheless we getting our heads around how it works, all the while getting to know one another, at least from the shoulders up!

Guided by my colleagues we are embracing new technologies that allow us to share ideas visually in the virtual world and at the end of week one we have now read all the texts of the Tenderfoot 2021 plays and are now excited to start creating inspired by these works.

Deirdre Dwyer – Set & Costume Design Mentor

Designs sets and costumes for theatre, opera, dance and film. She also adapts and directs theatre for young audiences. She is from Waterford where she was first introduced, as a teenager, to theatre and design by Waterford Youth Arts, Spraoi and Little Red Kettle. She went on to train in UCC (BA in English and Drama and Theatre Studies), at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (MA in Theatre Design) and by apprenticing as Designer on the Rough Magic SEEDS3 programme. 

She is a member of BrokenCrow, an ambitious production company fueled by the joy and possibilities of collaboration, for whom she has created two shows for children, Miss Happiness and Miss Flower. She directed and designed Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes for The Everyman, Cork in Feb 2020.

In the winter of 2020 she created The Snow Queen, a new audio drama for children which, alongside 8 audio episodes, included a posted physical pack for ticket holders. 

She was Theatre Artist in Residence in Garter Lane Arts Centre Waterford for 2020 where her residency focused on developing her pratice of making for children. 

She teaches design, and related theories, to students in University College Cork and also in Mary Immaculate College, Limerick, where she was Theatre Artist in Residence from 2017 – 2020. Previous work includes set and costume designs for the Everyman, Rough Magic, Junk Ensemble, Graffiti and Cork Opera House. 


To Find out More about Tenderfoot in Lockdown CLICK HERE
To find out more about Tenderfoot CLICK HERE