First look at Three Sisters in Milton Court…

Well the summer holidays are in full swing, the design realisation students and the rest of the technical theatre cohort have once again dispersed across the country- and the world! Back to their families, re-charging their batteries and getting ready for their next year at the Guildhall School…

Most of the staff are also taking time out too, a well deserved break for everyone!  That said, it didn’t quite stop for some of the technical theatre staff at the end of the summer term as we were getting ready for our next big production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters- our first production which will take place in our amazing new venue, the Milton Court Theatre in our new building.  The show, which will open in October is going to be something of a spectacle with a wonderful set designed by Libby Watson.  The set (and the theatre!) presents many challenges for the design realisation staff and indeed the rest of the technical staff at the Guildhall School because it has a fully automated flying system which is very different to the counterweight flying system installed in the Silk Street Theatre.  The fully automated system is an amazing step forward for our department; not only does it allow us to be more creative, flexible and safe with the way we manipulate scenery in the new venue, it also means that we are at the very tip of cutting edge with concerns to the technology we are using in the theatre and of course what we are able to present to our students.  The ability for our students to learn how to use automated flying systems in Milton Court as well as maintaining training of counterweight flying in Silk Street is essential and as usual means that our students are kept up to date with new and emerging technologies within technical theatre.

But of course, the staff have to get the grips of it all first…

During the first two weeks of the holidays some of the technical theatre staff were in the new Milton Court theatre fitting up the Three Sisters set.  It’s a massive learning curve for the staff too but here’s how we got on…

As you can see it’s looking pretty good!  The ceiling is designed so that at various stages in the show it is positioned in different places.  The ceiling goes from horizontal, to at an angle and to vertical so that it can fly out completely.  The use of automation means that the whole process is completed fluid and smooth.  The rigging of the ceiling is also quite an interesting process as it has been constructed in such a way that the huge section takes up as little room as possible when flown out but also has the ability to create an amazing ceiling over the space.  This was achieved by the use of 3 pulleys which were mounted onto specially welded  brackets that straddle bars 13 and 15 to make them one unit.  The upstage edge of the ceiling is supported by the pickups from the upstage bar.  The downstage edge of the ceiling has pick ups from hoists in the grid that run through the pulleys and onto the downstage of the ceiling.  This means that the ceiling is fully supported but by the pulleys offsetting the hoists, the whole mechanism is kept with the tight constrains of three bars width on stage.

Here is a drawing of the ceiling section showing all of the calculations for the movement of the ceiling and also another huge set piece; the bi-fold doors.  There is also a picture of a mock-up model that was made to design the mechanism for the ceiling.

And if that doesn’t make any sense…maybe this will show you what we’ve achieved…

As you can see we’ve been busy and that isn’t all!  The scenic art team spent a week painting the remaining set pieces and the back wall and bi-fold doors of the set have been fitted up.  I’m not going to post any photos yet, we have to save something until September!  Hope you are as excited about our new theatre as we are…

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DRealisation, like us on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest and watch videos on YouTube…all a work in progress but so is everything in Design Realisation!

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One thought on “First look at Three Sisters in Milton Court…

  1. Pingback: More than just Design Realisation… | Design Realisation (Scenic Art, Scenic Construction and Prop Making)

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