Last ‘project’ of the term…

Well it’s been none-stop over the last few weeks for the Design Realisation Department working on the final two productions of the term; The Laramie Project which is in our Silk Street Theatre and Opera Scenes in the studio.

The main set for The Laramie Project is a series of steeldeck structures that make up platforms of various heights.  These are all clad with ply planks which have been meticulously ripped down to size and painted.  There are also two huge telegraph poles that sit within these structures with telegraph lines stretching from one end of the stage to the other.  These telegraph poles have been an ultimate collaboration project between the three design realisation departments; scenic construction have built the main poles, props have added the details like the cross beams, cast iron feet and the insulators, whilst scenic art have painted them.

The telegraph poles were made by cutting lengths of timber down with angles on each edge.  These were then nailed onto circular pieces of 18mm plywood called ‘formers’ which are used to create the shape.  The poles then went through a rigorous process of planing and sanding to make them round and with the slightly rustic quality you would expect from a solid piece of tree trunk.

The main structure which is made up from a series on steel decks at various heights is completely covered with ply planks which have had their first few layers of paint applied prior to the fit-up.  Here are some photos of the construction team, led by third year design realisation student Meg constructing the main structure, securing the planks putting the telegraph poles into place…

Meanwhile the scenic art team have been working hard on the planking for the set.  Each plank requires at least two coats of paint wash which will then be working into during paintcalls on stage when the planks have been laid.  There are well over 500 planks that have been cut and painted for the set, that’s over 1300 meters!  The paint job is quite an interesting one however with several signs positioned around the set.  Most of these have to be painted on stage within quite strict time constraints so the team have been preparing their pounces to speed the process up.  Here are some photos of the scenic art team led by third year student Andrea working on the planks and painting the Coca Cola sign during a very busy evening on stage…

The scenic art team have another paint call next week which will involve adding some colour and washes to the planks and tying the whole set in together so I will add some photos of the beautiful paint effect then.

It’s been non-stop in the props department too over the last few weeks.  The rocks for Opera Scenes have been finished and work is well under way for the 11 pairs of angel wings for The Laramie Project.  One pair of the wings have to open out fully so third year design realisation student Lai, who is co-ordinating the props team this term, has been coming up with a system for the this to happen which includes an aluminium framework covered with material and feathers.  These are going to look very impressive when they are finished! Meanwhile second year George has been turning all of the wooden insulators for the top of the telegraph poles; there are loads of them but George has got the hang of it and is churning them out…

The whole set looks very impressive and lots of people have spent a long time working on it over the last few weeks.  One of the nice things about fit-up is that we get to work quite intensively with other departments, mainly production management and we have had the help of loads of the first year Theatre Technology students who have been a valuable asset helping with the huge task of securing the floorboards…all 500 of them!

Pictures of the finished set, the paint job and the wings next week…

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