Felicity Abbott started her screen career sculpting fake marijuana plants for 1996 Kiwi movie Broken English. The Elam fine arts graduate headed to Australia a year later to study production design where, following a "long hard haul", she started earning a "proper living". Abbott was nominated for Aussie awards for her work designing the sets on Aboriginal musical Bran Nue Dae (2009) and 1950s set comedy drama Ladies in Black (2018). Her first Kiwi production design credit in two decades was a BBC adaptation of The Luminaries. The series, set in 1860s Aotearoa, won Best Production Design at the 2020 NZ TV Awards.
Returning home to New Zealand to design The Luminaries is a career highlight. With 90 percent of the sets being designed and created from scratch, it was creatively exhilarating and a great design opportunity to create this story in a period not often seen in New Zealand's screen history. Felicity Abbott