Project Proposal Final Draft

Section 1: Review (Approx 150 words)

This year has been a huge learning curve for me for at the beginning of this course, despite having the passion for performance design and practice my skills were limited to drawing. Yet now I’m confident creating 3-dimensional designs and thus bringing my ideas to life. Areas in particular where I have learnt skills which I had previously struggled with was building models to scale, pattern making, model drawing, sustainable design, ageing clothes etc. I now also instinctively document my research, work and any progress/ development. In learning these new skills the inspiration of many artists and designers (such as Rebecca Horn and Marie Blaisse) my interests have been directed towards costume designs.

Section 2: Project Concept – Aims and Realisation (approx 250 words)

What attracted me to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest is its exploration and understanding of freedom, which in turn explores the effects of repression on one’s impulses and desires e.g. Kesey draws parallels between sexual repression and freedom suggesting that a lobotomy and castration both result in the removal of a man’s freedom, individuality and ability for sexual expression. I’m also interested in the portrayal of women as oppressors over men as it demonstrates destructive and strenuous relationship.  Overall I want to create two costumes (in the context of a film) that express a relationship between a dominant oppressor and vulnerable victim.


My initial research is an in depth analysis of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. In grasping a concrete understanding of the novel, film and play’s themes I can investigate how I could portray its message and atmosphere. I will also research the effects of mind altering drugs (a constant theme in the novel) as Kesey was a heavy user and believed LSD was beneficial for society.The Euphoric vs the destructive nature of drugs is something I am interested in illustrating in my Costumes. Thus I will research first-hand accounts of drug use such as Thomas De Quincy’s “Confessions of an English Opium Eater” as well as the science behind how drugs work and their effects- such as Leslie Iversen’s book “Speed>Ecstacy>Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines”. Naturally I will explore the history of Asylums; from Henry Hering 19th Century photographs of Bentham patients to first-hand accounts such as Susanna Kaysen’s autobiography “Girl interrupted”. Knowledge of mental health will be vital research in order for me to sympathise and understand the internal battle of sufferers, thus creating an insightful, thought provoking and atmospheric final piece. Useful books include Kate Bornstein’s “Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws”, Jeffrey Kahn’s “Angst: Origins of anxiety and depression” and Steven Levenkron’s “Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation”. Lastly I will explore different materials and processes’ for creating costumes which will include visiting  the V&A’s exhibition “Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre”.

Section 3: Evaluation (approx 100 words)

Naturally I will document my work using photographs, videos, my sketchbook, notebook and workflow to log my ideas, research and class discussions throughout the proposal’s progression. Furthermore I will test my designs in order to see if my objectives are being reached e.g. impact and atmosphere. Firstly I will test my work by modelling them to an audience and asking for their feedback on the design and the effect it had on them. I will also ask for feedback from the models wearing the costumes in order to assess whether they’re practical to perform in, as well as their fitting and overall aesthetic. I will also take multiple colour test shots and experiment with lighting in order to see the way it affects the appearance of the costume. I will repeat each evaluation at the different stages of creating my project.


Proposed Research Sources and Bibliography (Harvard Format)                              


  • Bornstein, Kate “Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws” (2006) Seven Stories Press
  • Conrad, Joseph “The Secret Agent” (1907) Methuen Publishing

De Quincey, Thomas “Confessions of an English Opium-Eater” (1800) Oxford World's Classics

  • Gilman, Sander “Disease and representation: Images of illness from madness to Aids” (1988) Cornell University Press
  • Iversen, Leslie “Speed>Ecstacy>Ritalin: The Science of Amphetamines” (2006) Oxford University Press
  • Kahn, Jeffrey MD “Angst: Origins of anxiety and depression” (2013) Oxford University Press
  • Kaysen, Susanna “Girl interrupted” (1999) Random House
  • Kesey, Ken “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) Penguin Group
  • Levenkron, Steven “Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation” (1998) W.W.Norton & Company
  • Scull, Andrew “Madness in Civilization: A Cultural History of Insanity, from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine” (2015) Princeton University Press
  • Showalter, Elaine “The female Malady: Women, madness and English Culture, 1830- 1980” (1985) Virago Press


  • Control (2007) directed by Anton Corbyn, Momentum Pictures, 122mins
  • Girl Interrupted (1999) directed by James Mangold, Columbia Pictures, 127mins
  • I Believe in Unicorns (2014) directed by Leah Meyerhoff, Gravitas Ventures, 80mins
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) directed by Milos Forman, United Artists, 128mins
  • The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) directed by Robert Wiene, Sfinks,80mins


  • (2015) directed by Rufus Norris National Theatre 150mins


  • Bethlem Museum of the Mind (2015) “YOUTOPIA: Visions of the Past, Present and Future” Kent
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum (1852)  “Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre” London
  • Welcome Collection (2007) “States of Mind: Tracing the edges of consciousness” London

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