Posts Tagged With: backstage

The revolving door spins no more.

Hello everybody!!

It’s been over two months since our last post and now at last, all the shows are up, the academic year is drawing to its close and we’ve got a massive blog to let you know what we’ve been up to.

Since you last heard from us we have built an amazing cast concrete effect set for the Opera double bill; we’ve curated, installed and hosted our annual 3rd Year Graduate Exhibition; slipped in a couple of paint calls, prop makes and fit ups for Opera scenes and Napoli Milionara in the Milton Court Studio Theatre.  Finally, with a massive push we managed to the fit up the phenomenal build for the end of year musical ‘Grand Hotel’. Just a bit busy then!

It’s been a real who’s who of materials and techniques this term right across our Construction, Painting and Props departments.

Construction have had the volume turned up to 11 this term working on the set for Grand Hotel; we’ve seen welding on an industrial scale to construct fully operational revolving doors and two huge frames to support the mirrored and glazed frontage of the Grand Hotel as viewed from the inside.

First thing out were the two metal frames for the frontage and interior of the hotel; box steel welded and then clad in timber and MDF. Once the frames had been constructed it was through to the Paint Shop for black gloss on the cladding and gold leaf on the fret work and window frame details.

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The Gold leaf we use is in fact brass leaf, it is applied directly from the roll onto surfaces coated with an adhesive called Gilding Size. The size is applied over a layer of yellow paint which hides any small holes in the leaf. Once the leaf is on and the size has dried, we brush off the excess leaf and apply two layers of french enamel varnish to seal it, and to achieve the antiqued effect the designer was looking for.

We’ve also been applying more black gloss effect to all the cladding, flats, panels, treads and handrails; you name it – we glossed it!

Before we could get anything fitted up in the Silk Street Theatre, we had to paint an intricate geometric floor design on the stage.

Our friends in the Technical Theatre department helped us out by rigging a projector on to a flying bar so we could project the design on to the stage and trace out the geometric pattern. The whole ellipse was first marbled in white before we marked on the lines for the masking. Thirty five rolls of masking tape later and we began to paint and marble the black tiles. Off with the masking tape the next day and finish the surface with a lovely glaze to create a beautiful marbled floor on to which the set could be installed.

Here’s the beautiful finished floor with a layer of Bona Mega gloss glaze over the marble painting. Amazing!

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We’ve seen the construction of a rotating concierge reception desk made from bendi-ply, a glorious curved and fanned Grand staircase, and seemingly never ending fret work to create art deco inspired hand rails for the various balconies and decorative elements which adorn the glazing and carefully disguised steel deck.

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All the glazing has also been dirtied down by spraying with a matt glaze with a bit of white paint mix in, adding to the slightly defunct look specified by the designer.

Props made three Belfast sinks on wheels complete with dressing room mirror lights.  We had some decorative brackets for the sinks laser cut by a CADCAM company in south London; CutLaserCut have a selection of industrial size laser cutters so we emailed over our design and they were put to work cutting 9mm MDF to make Art Deco style brackets…Laser Power!

End result is an absolutely epic set, I couldn’t wait to see the actors and musicians apply their magic and it certainly didn’t disappoint, it was a great show and a brilliant demonstration of the collaborative production process here at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

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So there you have it, many weeks of hard work was certainly worth it looking at the amazing result. If you want to see a fascinating time lapse video of the set being taken to pieces you’re in luck! It’s quite a cathartic process destructing a set, the thing I find hardest to comprehend is that all those weeks of hard labour can be undone such a short time, about 12 hours. But that’s the way it goes I suppose. See the video courtesy of  the Technical Theatre department either on their blog or by clicking here.

We’re checking out of The Grand Hotel now;

The Props Department have realised a host of interesting and challenging creations this term. We’ve seen the creation of a prosthetic body parts including the frighteningly realistic torso of St. John the Baptist in its unfortunate de-limbed, decapitated and disembolwled state – so goes the brutal end for St. John in the Stradella opera. Our props students have also served an apprenticeship of sorts in coopering, deconstructing Scottish whisky barrels and recreating a fake barrel mid construction which allowed the opera singers to simulate the construction of the barrel during the performance of Arne’s The Cooper. Sound complicated? It is! See Pat’s Blog for a full run down.

Any finally, to round up this academic years activity, our annual first year Puppet Project!

Our first years have just presented their end of year project. The theme for this years project was the Grim tale of Hansel & Gretel set in an urban landscape, conceived as: HSNL + GRTL

The project kicked off with a crash course in puppetry with puppetry guru Steve Tiplady who gave a half day crash course in making and operating puppets.

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The first years then spent a week creating their puppets and taking crash courses in lighting and video editing from our lighting and video lecturers, then it was into the studio, out on location and finally many hours in the editing suite to create their fantastic version of the folk story, great work guys.

That’s it from us until September so enjoy your summer and we’ll see you on the other side.

I’ll leave you with the video of the first years puppet project HSNL + GRTL, enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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This year’s musical takes to the stage…

Another week has passed and as promised it was a busy one! All of the set and scenic cloths that filled the design realisation workshops are now on stage and I must say it’s looking brilliant.

The props department have been working hard on the many props needed for the production.  The carts are looking really good and the drapes are up and in the theatre behind the Yiddish proscenium, along with the flags they were working on in the last post.  Meg has been focusing on an interesting prop this week; recreating a vintage phonograph.  Working from an original as a reference, Meg has been piecing together the phonograph bit by bit over the last few weeks in between working on the other props.  It’s looking really good and I especially like the handle which has been 3D printed! I’m looking forward to seeing it all painted up…

Once again the scenic construction department have been busy, working on stage putting the set up for Rags.  The set is comprised of several components including a large platform at the back of the stage and two large sections at either side of the stage which have brick flats on them.  Each of these sections have trucks that move in and out, and large brick doors; one that flies in and one that opens onto the stage.  Here are some process photos of the set being put up on stage, I’ll be sure to get a picture of the finished set next week…

The scenic art team have also had an interesting week.  At the start of the week they were finishing the two scenic cloths for the production; the huge New York skyline cloth and the smaller Harlequin cloth that hangs behind the Yiddish pros and the drapes.  I’m sure you will agree that both cloths look brilliant!  The team also had some paint calls on stage, painting the floor for the show which is a square, patchwork design in pink and blue with a dark spray over the top and glazed for protection.  Here are some photos of the team finishing off the cloths and during their first paintcall on stage…

All of the scenic components and props are starting to come together now, ready for tech week next week.  I will try and get some photos of the completed set during the technical rehearsals; the set and props always look amazing under theatre lighting and I am looking forward to seeing the skyline cloth lit up.  Stay tuned for some more photos and also some other things going on in the design realisation workshops next week…one of our third year students starts work on a cloth for an outside project and our first year students begin their animation project, plus the rest of the props are finished off ready for the show!

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It’s all going on in the Design Realisation Workshops

It’s clear that this week is going to be a busy one. The workshops are starting to get busier with scenic components and props morphing into reality as the day moves on. As always the students are working hard; learning new skills and putting these skills into action.

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Hannah and Tara are using their carpentry knowledge to work on some benches for Blood Wedding. They’ve made some new legs and painted them to look like the rest of benches. They look fab ladies!

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Ellie looks quite excited here…and she should be, she’s making a vending machine. Ok, it looks a bit strange at the moment but I have faith in her, it’s going to look awesome!

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George is getting himself ready to do some spraying for a sample for the triple bill opera. Looking forward to seeing what the finished look is like!

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Nancy, one of our third year Design Realisation students, coordinating her team as they start building the scenery for the opera. It’s going to be a challenging build but they’re powering though. Stay posted for some interesting photos as it starts to take shape.

And that’s just a Monday.

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at Guildhall School of Music & Drama

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Step backstage into the workshops at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama

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