Great Expectations

Its been a few weeks since we were in the midst of the Autumn term opera and we have now just completed fitting up our end of term drama, Great Expectations.

The set consisted of three platforms of accumulating heights leading up to a pier structure at the back of the stage.


The platforms were constructed from steel deck which then had timber sections added to them to give them their angular shapes.


Once the platforms were on stage, the floor boards were then laid and nailed to them. The edges were trimmed off using a skill saw.



Finally treads were installed around the perimeters of the platforms which were then clad with floor boards to match the platforms.


Meanwhile the props workshop was busy carving lumps of polystyrene into an edible looking feast.

Alix worked on creating a roast chicken by firstly covering her poly-carving with a cream coloured base coat and then sponging on the darker orange/brown tones. She finished it off with a gloss glaze to imitate the oily skin of a roasted chicken.

Brussel sprouts and a cabbage was made buy pouring coloured liquid latex into moulds and pealing them out once dried.

The finished plate looked good enough to eat!


Georgia  completed the same process for her leg of ham which had great results!


The plate itself was cast in plaster from a purpose made mould.

Moulds were also made for fennel and fish which would also be part of the feast!

The wedding cake was made by Lana, our 3rd year props manager. She began by cutting three cylinders out of polystyrene which would form the three tiers of the cake. These were stuck together and then carved into in places to give the impression that sections of the cake had crumbled / rotted away.


Lana coated the polystyrene with foam coat and plaster which she sanded down to give a smooth finish. Vacuum formed piping shapes were stuck around the edges of each tier and the cake was painted.

Finally the whole thing was covered in ‘Kobweb’ spray!


Our scenic artist have been busy with the 15′ back cloth which was painted to look like  a stormy sky. The effect was created by applying a number of washes in shades of blue and grey and blending in patches of white for the clouds.


It was important that the paint remained very loose as the cloth was to be used for back projection therefore the transparency of the cloth was critical to achieve the final effect.

…so Great Expectations is now up (looking great) and in rehearsal stage. Our first year students are now working on their Design Realisation Project which is based around Vincent Van Gogh and his time in the yellow house. We have parts of the set coming together quickly so I will have lots to show and tell…until next time!

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