Designing “Beauty and the Beast” – Jim Finan

We’re very lucky to have a venue as grand as the Cameco Capitol Arts Center available to us for our
annual large musical. That said, for a designer, the Capitol stage does present a few challenges. Limited
wing space and depth beyond the proscenium are hard realities. With previous shows I’ve designed or
co-designed, such as “Chicago” or “Into the Woods”, the answer was simple. Put up one set and leave it
there. Done!

But Disney shows are large and complex, requiring multiple set changes and lots of set movement.
“Beauty and the Beast” has a castle, a tavern, a forest, a cottage, and more. I love big multilevel sets, but
I must temper my enthusiasm and leave lots of dance space for this large cast and make sure they can
achieve quick entrances and exits. To accomplish this, our large set units pivot, displaying two “faces” as

Producing the sets on schedule requires a building team that turns the vision (see the “half inch equals
one foot” maquette above) into reality, but goes further to make it safe for cast and crew.
Our gifted painters take my black and white models and “Disneyfy” them with colour that brightens the
look without overwhelming the actors on the stage.

I am very lucky to have a creative and collaborative team of builders and painters (shout-out to Bill
Reid, Frank Burns, Hsiu Lao, Louise Sirtonski, Ken Forsythe, and their assistants) who share my passion
to make the best production possible.

– Jim Finan, Set Design

Beauty and the Beast plays at the Capitol Theatre Feb 23 – Mar 3, 2024.