What is it?

The Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design was established by Told by an Idiot in 2019 to recognise an emerging designer with a unique visual imagination, in memory of the late Naomi Wilkinson; a hugely talented and renowned theatre set and costume designer. 

'Naomi Wilkinson changed the way we looked at design. Over a ten year period she was a close and wonderful collaborator, designing nine utterly unique worlds and helping us define our visual aesthetic. She provoked us, challenged us and inspired us to think differently. She never settled, constantly questioned and was always curious. The award is specifically intended to help overcome the under-representation of those who identify as women in the arts and to honour Naomi Wilkinson's legacy.' Paul Hunter, Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot

The recipient of the Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design 2023 will be given the opportunity to develop their craft in collaboration with Told by an Idiot and will be employed to design the set, props and costume for our next stage show; a co-production with the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle Under Lyme, to open in April 2023.

The chosen designer will be mentored by a freelance theatre designer well acquainted with Told by an Idiot’s style, as well the New Vic’s resident in-house designer who will share their expertise in designing for their in-the-round auditorium. 


How do I apply?

Email us using the subject line ‘Naomi Wilkinson Award Application’.


  • Two examples (digitally) of your previous set and costume designs
  • Your CV
  • An answer to the question ‘What interests you most about working with Told by an Idiot and the New Vic?’
    (Either written - max 300 words, or send a video of you answering the question - max length 3 mins). 

The only requirements are that you identify as a woman, have permission to work in the UK until the end of 2023, can submit digital evidence of 2 of your previous designs and have an inventive approach to your practice. 

Application deadline: Friday 30th September 2022, 12pm.

Those shortlisted from submissions will be invited to attend a free 1 day Idiot workshop (The Role of the Designer in the Devising Process) as part of the selection process, on Monday 17th October 2022, in London. 
The final shortlisted candidates will be invited to a panel interview in w/c 31st October 2022
Winner to be announced: Friday 4th November 2022. 

Told by an Idiot is an ITC Ethical Manager and as such all fees are paid at, or above ITC minimum rates. Told by an Idiot and the New Vic are committed to support artists and theatre makers from the Global Majority and we particularly encourage applications from anyone who fulfils the criteria of the role and identifies as such. Please direct any questions to our Producer, Jen Holton.


Further information on our partners: 

New Vic Theatre: 
Founded in 1962, the New Vic is the producing theatre for Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire. With around eight major productions a year, it presents a varied and adventurous programme which includes contemporary drama, new commissions, innovative adaptations and accessible classics 

The Charles Mason and Naomi Wilkinson Foundation: 
The Foundation supports the advancement of the arts and the advancement of education primarily through: (i) the grant of bursaries to students and others to enable them to pursue creative endeavours of art, theatre and design; and (ii) promoting, preserving and making available the work and archives of the artist, Charles Mason and theatre designer, Naomi Wilkinson for exhibition and research purposes 

The Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design is generously supported by the Charles Mason and Naomi Wilkinson Foundation. Without their support we would be unable to give this opportunity to female designers at such a pivotal stage of their careers.


The Inaugural Award (2019-2020)

The recipient of the inaugural award was Ioana Curelea, who was given the opportunity of designing the set, props and costumes for The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel (2019-20).

"Receiving the Naomi Wilkinson Award is an incredible opportunity as an emerging young female stage designer and I am deeply honoured to have been selected as the recipient of this award. To have the chance of being a part of the work Told by an Idiot produces so early on in my career still feels a bit unreal, but I am suspending my disbelief and looking forward to collaborating and creating what I know will be an exciting and intriguing show." Ioana Curelea, Recipient of the Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design 2019-20.

 Ioana Curelea (recipient of the Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design) with Patrick and Anthony Wilkinson, Designer Michael Vale, and Told by an Idiot co-founders Hayley Carmichael and Paul Hunter

Left: The Naomi Wilkinson Award for Stage Design 2019 recipient Ioana Curelea with Told by an Idiot co-founders Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmichael, Designer Michael Vale and Naomi's brothers, Patrick and Anthony Wilkinson.  Right: Ioana Curelea's model box design for The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel