Designer dares to dazzle

AFTER graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art last year, Gez Mansfield has found a niche designing some of the coolest new bars and hotels in Australia and New Zealand.

It's far from the average bar job, but like many people who work behind the beer taps, Mansfield, 25, uses it to subsidise his true passion.

"I guess I've always been excited by theatre because that's what I grew up with at high school; it was always live shows," the former Oakhill College student said.

"Theatre, being so live and everything, has to work out for that opening night and to make it work, an operator is doing things on the spot."

That magic fusion of a grand vision and meticulous preparation will be tested again later this month when two plays with sets and costumes designed by Mansfield will open.

The Pantsguys Production of Punk Rock will run for 2? weeks, closely followed by the The Hiding Place, at Australian Theatre for Young People, Walsh Bay.

In an industry where many find it tough to get work, Mansfield is in demand.

But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"Being in co-op theatre, there's not a lot of money to go around but it's more about getting your name out there and getting some of the bigger guys (in the industry) to come out and see your work," he said.

Although there are more production companies knocking on the door, Mansfield will pack his bags for Europe in September.

The portfolio will be packed and the West End could beckon.

But if the work isn't there . . . he'll have to find it somewhere else.

"If, hypothetically, there was no such thing as a designer, I wouldn't have a job," Mansfield said.

"There's actually nothing else I can think of that I could do."

Details: Punk Rock, July 25 to August 11, The Hiding Place, August 30 to September 15, both at Pier 4/5 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay.

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