45 of 50

2019 is our 50th anniversary and we are championing some of the people who help make Scottish Ballet a great place to work. Each week we will introduce you to a different career at Scottish Ballet and the person behind it.

Robert Allsopp’s work spans film, TV and theatre, producing props for both costume and art departments. Robert has worked on projects for the Royal Opera House, Oscar winning films, and BBC's Dr. Who. 

Robert has joined The Snow Queen production team to help bring Lez Brotherston’s designs to life. From the Snow Wolves' headdresses to the Jack Frosts' mischievous masks, Robert is helping to bring the fairytale to the stage. 

We caught up with Robert to find out why he became a props artist and how he started working with Scottish Ballet. 

What inspired you to become a props artist?

I wouldn’t know how to do anything else. I have always made things. When I was 14, I used to create plaster moulds and keep them under my bed. I went to college to study theatre design. The course was incredibly broad, we practised everything from woodwork to sewing. I was lucky enough to be tutored by Natasha Korniloff who designed for theatre and ballet, as well as designing David Bowie’s stage clothes.

I was hugely inspired by Anthony Dowell’s stage adaptation of the ballet, The Tales of Beatrix Potter. He worked with the original ballet film designer Christine Edzard and Mask-Maker Rostislav Doboujinsky.

What does your job involve?

I translate a designer’s drawing into a finished item. It’s easy to make something look amazing, much harder to make it practical and that’s what you have to do with dance.

What has been your favourite thing to make for The Snow Queen?

The wolves' headdresses. Bringing Lez Brotherston’s fantasy designs to life has been far more fun than creating something realistic.

When did you first meet Scottish Ballet?

I remember working with Scottish Ballet in the 90’s when they were based at 261 West Princes Street. I have worked on lots of ballets with the company since, including the 2014 revival of Peter Darrell’s The Nutcracker

Mice in Peter Darrell's The Nutcracker. Design by Lez Brotherson. Mice heads made by Peter Allsopp.

What do you like most about working with Scottish Ballet?

It’s nice to do things outside of London in a company that has the same production values as all other major companies.

What are the biggest challenges of the job?

Making something that allows dance and movement. Making something that will last. It would be much easier if dancers stood still! Sweat... it’s not a good thing at all for prosthetic props which attach to the skin. 

Schedules and juggling other jobs is a challenge too. I was in Atlanta in September but needed to be in Glasgow to do the fittings at the same time as designer, Lez Brotherston.

What is the best part of the job?

The variety. The mix of working with film, TV, and theatre and working with interesting talent.

Do you have any top tips for aspiring artists?

You’ll have to work hard. What I would say is ‘just do it – give it a go’. 

What is your 'get up and go' song?