Scenic Construction

Scenic Construction at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama is taught by Andy Wilson our Lecturer in Construction Management and Edd Smith our Lecturer in Scenic Carpentry. Andy Wilson

Andy studied Fine Art before starting to work as a freelance prop maker. In the early 1980s he combined this with work as a puppet maker in Community Arts in London, Bristol and the North. A spell spent building large-scale fire sculptures kindled an interest in scenic construction and since then he has pursued both prop making and Construction Management. His work has ranged from panto to ballet, from small-scale touring theatre to film and from national stages to primary school classrooms.

Andy came to Guildhall in 1994 as Prop Maker, and moved sideways to become Construction Manager 10 years later. Throughout this time he has able to undertake occasional freelance prop making and construction work, which has helped him to keep in touch with changes in the theatre industry. Andy says ‘I love the mixture of people and the energy at Guildhall; students (and staff) arrive from very different backgrounds, work very hard here, and then move on in equally varied directions.’

Edd left a career in accouEdd Smithntancy and moved to Manchester in 1994 to study at the Arden school of Theatre where he achieved a degree in Technical Theatre Arts specialising in design and construction in 1997. He then spent most of the next 2 years touring the country with Bradford based Mind the… Gap, the largest disability related theatre company outside London. Alongside this Edd and his business partner set up their own freelance agency; “Luxury Crews” supplying technicians to theatres and live events in the North West.

On his return to London in 1999 Edd worked for two weeks staff cover at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts which became a permanent appointment and his first taste of teaching where he stayed for eighteen months. 

In 2001 Edd took his current position of Scenic Carpenter / Lecturer at the Guildhall School and successfully completed a Post Graduate Certificate Learning and Teaching in Higher Education in November 2005.

What is scenic construction all about?

Scenic constructors build all of the scenery for theatre, film and television.  Working primarily with wood, metal and plastics, scenic constructors utilise a range of technical and creative skills to design imaginative solutions to problems.  Skilled in carpentry and welding, scenic constructors build large scale scenic components whilst working closely with the designer and other technical departments.  Scenic constructors are problem solvers, and have the ability to visualise a 2D design in a 3D context, drawing on mathematical and engineering skills, as well as utilising creative flair.

Skill include carpentry, MIG and Arc welding, technical drawing by hand and with AutoCAD and wood turning to name a few…

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