Talking Points: Rae Smith

A collection of sources and imagery to explore the work of set designer Rae Smith.

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Rae Smith

Rae Smith is a British set and costume designer.

Smith worked as set designer on War Horse, a stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s novel about a horse on the Western Front of the First World War.

To prepare for the role Smith reviewed personal recollections, photographs and archives from the period, held at the Imperial War Museum. A key theme was the use of the backdrop as a giant sheet of paper from one of the characters sketchbooks, onto which she projected images that might have been drawn by the character.

Please Note: If you ask students to research the artist on computers, the ‘sketchbooks’ section of her website contains some inappropriate content for children.

Find the drawings and mock ups of Rae Smiths set here.

Watch this video to find out how Rae Smith starts work on a new project. 

Warhorse Animation Montage

“Working with the drawings by show designer Rae Smith, and creating new digital content, we were able to create an animated sketch book that travels from idyllic Devon to the horror of WWI battlefields.” – Peter Stenhouse, Animator

Questions to Ask Children

How do Smith’s drawings make you feel?

Describe the atmosphere of the set. How do you think this has been achieved?

What materials do you think the artist used?

Does this make you think of set design in a different way?

What do you think the role of ‘set designer’ entails?

This Talking Points Is Used In…

Pathway: Set Design

This is featured in the 'Set Design' pathway

This is featured in the ‘Set Design’ pathway

using sketchbooks to make visual notes

Find out how pupils can respond to artists work in sketchbooks

Find out how pupils can respond to artists work in sketchbooks

Show me what you see

Enable close looking and drawing with this exercise

Enable close looking and drawing with this exercise