Treads, marble, moulds, welding and more…

It’s the end of week two: snow is starting to fall outside whilst the design realisation workshops hum and buz with the sound of machinery and people.  All three departments have had a busy week this week, working on different shows and utilising a range of skills. 

The props workshop has been a hive of activity this week.  A selection of first year students on Associated Studies have been introduced to the world of prop making, trying their hands at a huge range of processes including basic woodworking skills, sculpting, mould making, casting and paint effects.  Meanwhile, the rest of the props department (Lai, Tara and Lisa) have been juggling work on several shows.  They’ve been making furniture for the upcoming production of A Respectable Wedding which will be at the Bridewell Theatre http://www.barbican.org.uk/theatre/event-detail.asp?ID=14250 as well as starting work on the many props needed for this term’s Opera Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart which opens at the end of February.  It’s nice to see the workshop full of people ranging from first year students sampling prop making through to third year Lai honing her prop making skills in her final props allocation at the Guildhall School.  I was especially excited to see one of our second year design realisation students tucked away in the clean area of props which is reserved primarily for sewing or ‘cleaner’ prop making work.  Tara was working on some cushion covers and was surrounded by books, materials and old props from previous productions…It took me a minute or two to spot her in our very own Aladdin’s cave!

The scenic art team have been busy painting the rest of the floor for Twelfth Night which will be laid on Monday.  They’re moved on to the darker of the two marbles now which is a nice rich terracotta colour.  The process is slightly longer than the creamier marble as this version gets several washes applied after the puddling has dried to ‘flatten’ the marble and take out some of the contrast between the darker orange tone and the lighter base colour.  The finished tiles look really nice and I’m excited to see what the floor look like when it’s been laid in the theatre…I’ll make sure I get a picture or two next week.

In the construction department (as well as having the new wall saw delivered yesterday!) the team have been working hard on the opera production.  They have started welding some steel frames which will make up the side walls of a large truck section of scenery.  The use of a jig means that each piece of wall is exactly the same and helps to hold the metal in place so that they can easily be ‘tacked’ and then welded.  It also speeds up the whole process as it means that only the first section needs to be measured and squared up. 

Along with the welding, the construction team have been working on some treads for the opera too.  These are just a basic set of get-off treads which will be used backstage but as with most things in design realisation, it’s all about learning a process.  These simple treads are made in the same was as more elaborate staircases; the principles are the same.  Now that the construction team have mastered the skill of making treads…it’s onwards and upwards…litterally! 

Prepare for a busy one next week as all three departments begin concentrating on building and painting the props and scenery for this term’s Opera Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart…

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