An afternoon at the Palace (Theatre!)

Well the Design Realisation workshops have been busy as the next three shows enter the planning and making stages of production.  The scenic art department have been sampling again, testing out different paint effects for the massive cloths for the production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters which will be the first show presented in our new theatre at Milton Court (http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/index.php?id=25).  They have also been working on a wonderful red floor for this term’s Opera Scenes as well as starting work on a huge pile of signs for the upcoming production of Nicholas Nickleby Part 2.  The scenic artists aren’t the only team that have been busy; the construction department have started ordering materials and drafting CAD drawings ready to start building and the props team have begun work on the vast array of props required for the Nicholas Nickleby and Opera Scenes.  It’s definitely going to be a busy few weeks so watch this space for some interesting photos…

Amidst all of the preparations, there was some time last week for a trip to the Watford Palace Theatre http://www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk/, one of the country’s finest producing houses.  Both Andy and I have had the privilege of working at Watford Palace and we thought it would be a great opportunity to take some of our design realisation students for a tour of the workshops and the theatre. 

The workshop was full of scenery being made and painted and just like at the Guildhall School, they were working on several things at once; an upcoming production of Watership Down as well this year’s pantomime, a production of Mother Goose-  http://www.watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk/page/mother-goose .  This year’s production is designed by Cleo Pettit, a professional designer and Scenic Artist who also works in the design realisation department occasionally as a freelance scenic artist.  The painters at Watford Palace were working on one of the cloths for the production which had a huge starburst design that they were meticulously marking out.  They don’t have the luxury of the paint bridge that we have in the scenic art department at Guildhall School so all cloths have to be painted from a scaffolding tower or from ladders; you wouldn’t think it from how quickly they were working though!

Up at the theatre itself, we got the ‘royal’ treatment (sorry, couldn’t resist!) with a backstage tour around the theatre, the fly floor and for those with strong stomachs…up to the grid! All in all, it was a really a good afternoon and hopefully everyone got see how a different workshop operates and meet some of the professionals in the trade.

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