Welcome to the summer term…

Well one thing is certain; we don’t hang about here in the design realisation at the Guildhall School…

Last week was the start of the summer term.  Instead of taking it easy and enjoying the sunshine out on Barbican lakeside, we were already building and painting scenery and props for our first two productions (it IS what we do best after all!), introducing some of the 1st year technical theatre students into the world of design realisation and welcoming new faces onto the teams for this term. 

Our summer terms have a reputation for being the busiest, and most impressive of the year, with huge productions that show of our capabilities as a department and most pleasingly, when students at the end of their year of study really step up and show us everything they have learnt so far.  For our first year students this term is a busy one; they start by completing their associated studies sessions, sampling techniques and processes in other streams.  Then they join us in the workshops helping out with the public productions (we are always grateful of a few eager and talented pairs of hands) before completing their final first year project.  Our second year students don’t get a break either…this is their last term working as scenic constructors, scenic artists and prop makers before taking on the leadership roles next year.  And of course who can forget our third year students.  It’s always a bittersweet term for them; the excitement of entering a vibrant and challenging industry coupled with the sadness of saying goodbye the Guildhall School.  Well we’ve still got 13 weeks of them here in our workshop, so let’s make the most of it!

Our first production is May 08, a devised piece which will be performed at the Bridewell Theatre.  The main thing to point out about the design for May 08, which is designed by James Cotterill, is that it is very…well…yellow! The whole of the Bridwell Theatre will be completly transformed next week into a sunny paradise complete with a bold yellow floor and two painted canvasses.  The scenic art team have been working hard this last week perfecting the right shade of yellow and painting all of the floor ready for it to be taken down at the end of this week.  It’s harder than it looks getting a good even coverage without patches or streaks, but as usual the team headed by third year Nancy are up to the task! They have also started work on one of the large canvasses which have a solid yellow bottom that fades into white as it moves up the cloth.  Here you can see them using ‘bobbly’ rollers to apply a broken up first coat of yellow which will then be sprayed into to create the wonderful blended look.

In the props department last week, work began on the upcoming opera Owen Wingrave which will be performed in our Silk Street Theatre next month.  For the production, the props department have a lot of interesting things to make but they started work on some black glossy ornate picture frames.  The props department was also busy last week with a final group of associated studies students learning some of the basics of prop making.  The group worked with a variety of materials including clay, plaster, latex, expanding foam, wood, plastic and paint to name but a few and seemed to have a brilliant time.  One of the highlights of the week was learning about the new machine in the props- the vacuum former.  The vac former works by heating a sheet of thin plastic and them creating a vacuum that sucks the plastic down over an object, leaving the shape of the object imprinted on the plastic.  Lots of plastic toys for example are made in a similar way and as usual within the props department the uses of the vac former are endless.  Some possible uses include making moulds, casings and even intricate vac form mouldings.  Here are some photos of the associated studies team learning about the vac former and making a shield.  What do you think?

Meanwhile in scenic construction, more students have been taking part in associated studies.  The group have been learning the basics of scenic construction including making flats and treads and how to use all of the machienery safely.  Here are some photos of the team in action making some flats for the production of May 08 and two very smart sets of treads…

The rest of the construction team have begun work on the set for Owen Wingrave which starts it’s fit up in only a couple of weeks.  Lucky the department has a large team ready to take on the challenge…

This week it’s the turn of the scenic art department associated studies.  Plus, scenic construction and props power ahead full steam on the production of Owen Wingrave…stay tuned for some more photos…

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One thought on “Welcome to the summer term…

  1. Pingback: 2014 kicks off with Associated Studies… | Design Realisation (Scenic Art, Scenic Construction and Prop Making)

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