Three weeks in and it’s all go…

It’s the end of week 3 of the Autumn term now and anyone would think we’d been back for months; the design realisation workshops are buzzing with people and machinery and props and scenery are being churned out a fast pace ready for this term’s productions.

This term is very special because the first two shows that open are presented in our brand new Milton Court Theatre and Studio in our wonderful new building which had its official gala opening on the 26th of September.

Check out the specs of our new spaces here:

We’ve been working on the set for the production of Three Sisters, which will be presented in out Milton Court Theatre, for well over a year now so it is so good to finally see the set in all its glory, along with the painted backdrop and floor cloth, together in the theatre (pictures of the finished set on their way next week!.

Scenic Carpentry lecturer Edd has been working hard on some finishing touches to the set over the last few weeks; including working on the bi-fold doors making two trap doors that fit into the modular floor of the Milton Court stage…

As well as the Three Sisters, there’s The Seagull which will be presented in the Milton Court Studio; a wonderfully versatile space that beautifully contrasts the traditional feel of the Milton Court Theatre.

The scenic art team have been painting and glazing the floor of the studio as well as a platform that the production management team have made.  Here are some of the girls after another late paintcall, don’t worry, we left a path to leave the space without walking glaze through the new building!

The Seagull glazing in the new MC Studio

The props team have also been doing a lot of work for The Seagull.  Third year Tara is co-ordinating the props team for the first 6 weeks of term and along with second year Kim, is making two seagulls for the show.  Sophie is currently working on a series of masks for the production; here you can see how they’re getting on.


Of course the props team have more to do than just one show.  They are also working on props for the Three Sisters too.  Second year students James and Amy are making a lawn roller and a clock that breaks during the show.

It’s not just the productions in Milton Court that are keeping us busy, work is well under the way for this term’s opera which is a Debussy/Donizetti double bill:

The design for the double bill is a wonderfully creative interpretation of a clay tennis court designed by Yannis Thavoris.  The scenic construction and scenic art teams have been working hard getting the set built and painted over the last few weeks.  Let by third year Katie, the construction team have been laying the floor for the opera on our Silk Street stage and have been building and cladding the flattage ready to be painted.  There’s still a lot to do but it’s been non-stop for the construction team and they’ve certainly been powering through…

The scenic art team have also been working hard on the opera set, building up layers and layers of paint to achieve the clay tennis court finish.  The process is a long one that includes texturing the floor with idenen, then rollering different orange shades onto a peach background.  Next, the floor is layered up more and more colours by hand sponging them onto the rollered base, overlapping and blending the colours.  Then several sprayed layers are added, these provide depth and add to the chalky, clay-like feel of the floor.  It’s not just the main floor that has this finish, huge flats that will make up the main platform of the set have the same effect.  The process is a particularly long one but I think you’ll agree it looks very effective.

Another piece of scenic art work for the opera double bill is a wonderful large portrait that third year Jennie, the scenic art co-ordinator is working on..

As well as all of the production work taking place in the design realisation workshops, we have also welcomed our new first year students into the department too.  This week was the first time the first years were working in the workshops, taking part in their introduction lessons.  It was great to see our new students getting stuck into the practical work that will form so much of their time at the Guildhall School over the next couple of years.  They certainly seem to have been enjoying themselves and it was brilliant to have some extra help during some of the paint calls too!  Here they are during their first year lessons…

Well of course there is still so much work to do.  The workshops will be full of interesting set pieces and props being made for our upcoming productions and I will try to keep on top of taking photos and documenting the process…keep visiting and seeing what we are up to!

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