Colleagues will be sorry to learn of the death, on 6 January 2016, of Becs Andrews, who was affiliated with the School of Performance and Cultural Industries as a DARE Cultural Fellow in Scenography (in partnership with Opera North) between 2011 and 2014. The following obituary has been contributed by her colleagues.
Becs was a scenographer in the true sense of the word; an immensely talented visual artist with a strong interdisciplinary drive. She generated some highly innovative and visionary work in Leeds during her Fellowship and was inspired by the possibilities of combining scientific insight and artistic practice.
She created ‘Phase Revival: An Optical Harmonica’, a kinetic installation using swinging lenses and light in collaboration with Professor Ben Whitaker (School of Chemistry), Dr Mike Nix and artist Dave Lynch; and ‘Gold Dust’, a video installation inspired by the search for the Higgs Boson or ‘god particle’ which was selected for this year's Royal Society Summer Exhibition.
More recently she created 'Transmission', a design-led interactive dance performance/installation that explored infectious networks and how changes at a molecular level can have global consequences.
As an emerging designer she won the prestigious Linbury Prize in 2003 and made a name for herself as a stage and costume designer for theatre, opera and ballet, working with renowned companies such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, the National Ballet of Japan, Improbable Theatre, and The Royal Opera House.
Becs was respected and liked by peers, praised by critics and much appreciated as a colleague, mentor to students, and as a friend. She will be missed and remembered fondly as a creative force and inspiration. Our thoughts are with her husband Michael and her family.
Dr Joslin McKinney, Associate Professor in Scenography in the School of Performance and Cultural Industries, said: “Becs was excited by new challenges, by working with new materials and by testing the boundaries of what design could do. She was an inspiration to us and to our students.”
Dr Scott Palmer, Lecturer in Scenographer, also in PCI, added: “Becs' forceful energy, infectious enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity inspired many of us at the University but also beyond. Her range of creative output was both outstanding and prolific. She touched the lives of many - not only across the city of Leeds but in major theatres and companies throughout the country. There is widespread shock and deep sadness at the loss of such a formidable talent.”