Paper Nautilus

Theatre Cryptic

Theatre, costume and film design for a new opera in Glasgow

Theatre, Film and Animation

We created a set consisting of a pool of water at the front of the stage, a gauze screen right across the stage, and a walkway at the back, where a circular disc slowly crossed the width over the course of the performance. The band performed in the centre of the stage.

Video is used throughout the performance creating the sense of moving downwards: the imagery starts above water, and then progresses to the depths of the sea – where the sea creatures use bioluminescence to create light. This becomes a potent metaphor in Jackie Kay’s libretto.

We worked with LUX and filmed controlled bioluminescence in test tubes, as well as various other experiments that were used in the imagery of the production. The pool of water reflects the images, culminating in the singers walking through the water – casting rippled shadows throughout.


Theatre Cryptic


Tramway, Glasgow and touring


Theatre Designer
Film Design
Costume Design


Cathie Boyd
Gavin Bryars
Nich Smith