It must be musical time…

Now that this term’s opera Owen Wingrave has opened, the design realisation department have turned all their attention to this year’s musical which takes place at the end of our summer term.  This year, the musical is Rags and as you’d expect from a Guildhall School musical, it’s going to be quite spectacle!

The whole of the technical theatre department have their work cut out for them over the next couple of weeks and for the design realisation team, this means building and painting all of the scenery and props.  As you’d expect, the department are working full-on realising Susannah Henry’s design.  Here’s just a snippet of what’s been going on in the scenic workshop and the paintshop…

The construction team have been ‘stepping up’ (couldn’t resist!) their game this week building a series of treads for the musical.  There are 6 full sets of treads on stage, three pairs of various sizes which have been expertly constructed by the team with a woodgrain finish added by the scenic art department.  They also have a stone-like effect  which creeps up the treads; added after the woodgrain.  Here are some shots of the treads being made and painted…

Another element of the set that has been made and painted this week is the Yiddish Proscenium.  As you can see from the pictures, the pros is a dusky pink with ornate gold detail added.  The whole thing is aged with some dirty washes and a dark spray which really gives it some character.  This piece of scenery is a real collaborated effort from the design realisation department as the proscenium itself has been built by the construction team and painted by the scenic artists with the swags being made by the props department.  I’ll be sure to get some shots of the finished set piece during fit-up next week.

The scenic art team have also been busy working on one of the cloths for the musical.  The huge New York skyline cloth has an interesting brick effect around the edge which you can see has been started here.  One of the challenges of this cloth which makes it different to many of the cloths we paint here at the Guildhall School is that it has to be backlit.  Because of this, we are using a filled cloth which is left unprimed.  This means that we can build up several layers of paint on the areas of the cloth that needs to be more opaque and use thinner washes of colour for the sky which will need to be more translucent so that when lit from behind, the light can shine through.  The cloth has been split into grids to allow the team to easily pinpoint which part of the reference they are working on, which is standard practice for a cloth such as this.  The skyline itself has been projected onto the cloth to get the outline, which will then have the details such as the windows drawn in later.  Here is where we are up to…

Well I think you’ll agree that we have been busy this last week.  Next week is going to be even busier; there’s plenty more set to build and paint before the fit-up starts, plus we start another cloth on the paintframe this week; the harlequin cloth so I’ll be sure to get some more photos of both cloths taking shape.  Some very interesting props are being made in the props department too; there are some carts, flags and a gramophone for the musical, as well as a defibrillator for Opera Scenes.  Photos to follow…get ready for a busy week ahead…

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