Billy delivers early present for CCAD graduates

Greg Lonsdale and Mel Gettings with Billy Cessford (centre)
Greg Lonsdale and Mel Gettings with Billy Cessford (centre)

Cleveland College of Art and Design graduate Billy Cessford has served up a Christmas treat for students on his old course.

Billy, who graduated from the specialist art and design college in 2012 with a first class degree in Entertainment Design Crafts (now Production Design for Stage and Screen),now runs a successful business producing props and scenery for TV, film and stage clients around the country.

We achieved a lot in a short space of time and it was good to see an empty space turned into a great big ‘alternative’ grotto.”

Mel Gettings

He secured a project to create an alternative to ‘Santa’s Grotto’ for the Churchill Square Shopping Centre in Brighton, and offered the opportunity for both freelance work and work experience for former graduates and first year students from the college’s BA (Hons) Production Design for Stage and Screen (PDSS) programme.

The design theme was a ‘Coal Hearted Christmas’, bucking the traditional grotto set and instead creating a dark and glittery mine where young children will have to ‘earn their visit with Santa.

Built at the CCAD’s Bus Shed sound and production stage facility in Hartlepool, the large-scale set was created from scratch using carved polystyrene blocks. Assisting on the project were former students Greg Lonsdale and Mel Gettings, who studied production design and graduated this summer from the leading arts school.

Mel Gettings, 35 from Hartlepool, said: “We achieved a lot in a short space of time and it was good to see an empty space turned into a great big ‘alternative’ grotto.”