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Winner Announced for Outstanding Model Box

#ShoeboxTheatre2023 has been epic! Following on from our in-person Shoebox Theatre CPD at the Music and Drama Expo in February, over 200 teachers and schools took part in our free online Shoebox model-making CPD in the Summer. From there, schools around the world took part in our competition, with entries in two categories; Outstanding Model Box and Outstanding Scheme of Learning.

We are thrilled to announce the winner of the Outstanding Model Box Category, who will receive £100 vouchers for Hobbycraft. We are also announcing two very special commendations, who will both receive certificates.

Firstly, the standard of entries was so incredibly high it was very difficult for set & costume designer Sam Beal to judge. Here is Sam's message to ALL entrants:

Every design submitted showcased such creativity and skill, and demonstrates the endless possibilities of designing a stage production. From a simple provocation every student has excelled in bringing a text from the page to the stage, and I really hope this challenge has helped to change the way they approach a play. I was blown away by every submission, each with such a unique point of view and all showing ingenuity, creativity and technical ability. A huge congratulations to every school, and I really hope these talented students are inspired to continue exploring designing for the stage, either professionally or for their own enjoyment!”

Winner of Outstanding Model Box 2023

  • KS3 Group Year 9 in Technical Theatre Company, Ages 13-14

  • Wooton Park School

  • Text- The BFG

A huge congratulations to the group who created this model box! Here's what the group wrote about their design:

We were inspired by the play the BFG and wanted to create a set design that was inspired by the dream. The tree is at the centre of the design with a resin lake, the Aurora Borealis with lights in the canopy of the trees..

Here is Sam's feedback on the winning entry:

This design showcases a fantastic range of skills and techniques, and the overall stage picture is very impressive. The addition of decorative trim around the proscenium really highlights the magic of the story when juxtaposed against the wild nature of the set, with the tree canopy framing the action on stage. Technically, the use of the resin in the model is really impactful, and ingenious use of lighting goes a long way in setting an atmosphere.

The addition of the suitcase downstage left suggests impending action of the story, and the student very clearly has a good grasp of scale in model making."

"This design tells a story without words, and feels immersive within the traditional theatre setting. Great work!”

Special Commendation 1

  • Maiya Melling, 17 years

  • Cramlington Learning Village

  • Text- Machinal

Sam wanted to give a special commendation for this model box. Here's why:

This is a fantastic display of scale model making skills, and I am very impressed with the ingenious use of cardboard which really lends itself to the fabrication of the bar furniture. The piano in particular is brilliantly rendered, the colour scheme is effective, and the inclusion of a chair on its side suggests the space is lived in.

This is a great basis of scale model making, and I would urge the student to continue attempting replicating furniture to scale if they choose to pursue theatre design professionally. Scale model making is an invaluable skill for a set designer or design assistant, and this student has a great grasp on it already!

Maiya's teacher, Danielle Jackson explains why her model is so deserving of a special mention:

"Maiya is a 6th form student who has a passion for set design and an ambition to study this at university. Recently she has studied Machinal for her final exam. As you can see from the photos Maiya has gone above and beyond in designing her set. Using the resources provided as well as thinking outside the box to create her own set. I am absolutely blown away by her design, she is such a hard working, dedicated and lovely student who always goes above and beyond."

Special Commendation 2

  • Phoebe Challoner, 14 years & Sophia Cameron-Wilton, 13 years

  • Wooton Park School

  • Text- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Sam wanted to give a second special commendation for this model box. Here's why:

This design is very impactful, and feels extremely narrative. The paint effects are effective in setting an dark and sinister atmosphere, and the use of materials from the wooden floorboards to the shattered window work very well. Great work in extracting a visual language from the information provided in the text, with the inclusion of architectural details and the colour scheme. The choice of a semicircular apron at the front of the stage is a clever blocking choice, bringing the action closer to the audience. Overall fantastic, advanced model making skills and a total transformation from the shoebox.”

Phoebe and Sophia explain how they developed their model box:

"Our set is based on the book series Sector 45 from the novels 'Unravel Me' and 'Ignite Me', We were inspired by the duck egg blue of the walls from the novel. As the setting is 'traditional' we chose details such as the trim on the walls to echo this. The details chosen such as a fireplace, ornate rug and overstuffed chair are inspired by the novels. The blood splatter and details of the door and window link to the naturalistic aspects and link back to the narrative of the novel."


I would like to say a huge thank you to Sam Beal for creating Shoebox Theatre and taking time to judge all of the entries. Look out for a second and the winner of Outstanding Scheme of Learning, which will be announced next week!

If you would like to run Shoebox Theatre this year with your students, all of the resources are available to download here:

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