Opera Double Bill / Burnt By The Sun

It has been a very busy couple of months for us in Design Realisation starting with our Silk Street production of Burnt by the Sun and Our Opera double of Hans Werner Henze: Phaedra and Ein Landarzt.

Our students did a great job at realising the designs of Dora Schweitzer for Burnt By The Sun. The set consisted of a backdrop collage of window frames brought together with a selection of Russian paintings done by our students and carefully selected Russian’esque’ furnishings and props. The set was transformed with striking silk painted backdrop of Stalin. It all came together creating a wonderfully open, floating frame for the Russian drama.

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Guilia and Jasmine (working at super-human speed!) on their Russian paintings.

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The finished articles.

The Stalin Cloth

The Stalin cloth had to be executed very carefully as it was a very large feature in the play. The students in scenic art produced a selection of samples for the piece before beginning work on the final peice.

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The image was projected onto the silk and was masked with newspaper to give a silhouette shape of the piece. A base was then sprayed onto the silk in thin layers and built up in stages to give a solid white background to paint onto. The image was then projected back onto the white base and the grey sections traced out and painted in by hand.

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The set coming together….

Opera Double Bill: Phaedra and Ein Landarzt

Our opera double bill took place in our Milton Court theatre and was designed by Cordillia Chisholm. The set consisted of a semi circle of black panelled doorways which surrounded an automated light ring installation. The set was brought to life with projections mapped across the whole set.


The flats and doors were built in construction with the help of our 1st year Associated Studied students. The students were able to apply the methods they learnt for making basic flats to the construction of the doors and doorways.

In scenic art a black base was then applied to the flats and they were given a silvered grain effect using a watered down black washed mixed with silver pigment powder and applied using a fairly dry wide brush and dragging it along the panels in a smooth steady motion. finally a glaze coat was applied which helped to bring out the shimmer of the graining.

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The Light Ring

A central feature to the set for the Opera Double was a circular light ring which was automated around a large mirror piece and emitted a series of colours through LEDs.

A test ring was rolled and welded by our students in construction so that its movements could be mapped onstage before the final ring was made.

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The final ring was made using the same method as the test ring. It was then clad with MDF creating a box for the LED strips to be placed into. The top of the light ring was then closed with frosted acrylic which was cut out in sections and put in place.

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Construction were then set the challenge of creating the tubing for the outside of the light ring. This started its life as several pieces of white PVC tubing. A slot was cut out along the entire length which would eventually allow us to clip the tube over the line of LED strips the went around the outside of the ring. Holes were then drilled through the tubing to allow the light to leak through and the inside of the tubing was painted black.

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Finally the outside of the tubing was sprayed silver and fixed onto the outside of the ring IMG_0677 IMG_0675 IMG_0681



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