Posts Tagged With: fit-up

Full speed ahead into the New Year

 

As the first blog of 2016, I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year and welcome you to an exciting peek at what we’ve have been getting our teeth into in Design Realisation.

The start of the new term has given our DR students three shows to work on, which means their hands have been full and the workshops bustling but they have produced some great work.

The first to go up was combination of two drama’s ‘Pinter’ and ‘Dealers Choice.’ The set, designed by Amelia Jane-Hankin, had to adapt to both pieces of drama and is a simple yet effective, uniformed structure made up of wood panelled columns and flooring.

 

In construction our students prepared the frames fro the columns by making each side as a separate flat which were then screwed together to make the cuboid structures. Plywood was then cut to size on the wall saw and used to clad the sides of the columns.

Sam took the ‘assassins’ approach to the task at hand.

 

In scenic art the team painted the ply cladding with a smokey brown woodgrain effect and highlighted areas using a dry brush effect in a lighter grey.

The floorboards were given a woodgrain treatment in two shades of brown, a wash was then applied on top to blend and finally they were glazed over.

 

Alongside work on the Studio Theatre drama, our DR students were also preparing and beginning work on our Milton Court drama, ‘Top Girls.’ The design, by Dora Schweitzer, includes a collection of wonderfully distorted and somewhat frightening drawn and sculpted figures of women and children.

Scenic art have had their hands full with this one; the first task being to attack the large back cloth. The design featured several sketchy figurative drawings of women which were to be drawn in pastels and oil bars onto a black cloth.

Our scenic artists began by producing several samples from the references that had been given by the designer. The drawings were mainly created with a white chalky outline and then had highlighted elements and shading added in a selection of yellow, red and orange hues.

Once the designer was happy with the samples it was time to start work on the cloth.

Once the images were traced out onto the cloth using the projector, the students were able to work on individual figures to build up the collective figurative piece.

In addition to the back cloth the design included several sets of tables and chairs which all requires a heavy paint treatment. They started their life as white ikea dining sets and were transformed to look like dark, heavily rusted metal. This effect was achieved in a variety of stages.

Firstly the table frames and chairs had to be sealed with transparent polish and covent garden primer to allow the paint to stick to the metal and plastic. They were then primed with a mix of black and blue/grey paint. Sections of silver foil wrap were glued to small areas and the excess peeled off, to give metallic highlights and pieces of bogus paper were stuck to the table tops to create some texture. After this all the surfaces were given a rusty orange and blue sponge wash and once this had dried then the painters were able to go over elements of the chairs and tables adding more detailed and saturated rust colours before glazing over them to seal the paint treatment.

The results were pretty impressive…

 

Our students in props also had their hands full making a number of dummies that were to be flown in over the set.

These were made by pasting brown paper with glue around a foam figurine, cutting the dried paper shell away from the figure and filling inside with two part expandable foam to make the figures solid. Armature wire was then inserted into the bodies to create joints to enable the figures to be manipulated into different positions.

erm…

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No comment…  :-/

The props department then added hands and facial features using armature wire and mod-rock and the figures were painted and clothed ready to be placed in the set.

 

The last of the trio of shows is the Opera which this term is, ‘The Rape of Lucretia.’

The design, by Jamie Vartan, resembles that of a war trench which has required scenic art to create a ‘mud’ floor which covers the stage. This was achieved by covering sheets of MDF with a layer of idenden and working into the texture. The texture around the edges of the floor were enhanced by mixing the idenden with foam crumbs and layering that onto the MDF.

Once dried the floor was then painted.

The set is surrounded by a timber border which is made up of the largest lumps of wood I’ve ever seen! Getting these into the building took an act of God!….Or perhaps just an incredible team effort!

These along with the treads made by construction are all in the process of being treated with a paint wash before they are glazed.

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Props is probably the busiest department with regards to work on the opera. As part of the final scene there is a dramatic reveal of a graveyard complete with 1 million white crucifix’s and a blooming meadow. Lana and Jonathan have been working hard to create these pieces using a combination of artificial turf and dried shrubbery which they are painting to resemble wild flowering plants. As the plants have to be harvested as part of the Opera, each plant stem had to have a hole drilled into the plywood base under the turf for it to be planted in and harvested from. This was no quick job!

As opera fit up approaches, our DR students are making the finishing touches to the set. I would usually be saying there’s a frantic rush or final push to get everything finished but there is actually a rather calm and relaxed atmosphere circulating the workshop… I’m expecting there to be a huge panic next week when we realise we forgot to build that life size carousel!

 

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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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Bringing the little wooden boy to life…

Week 5 kicks off today and with it, fit-up for this term’s opera ‘The Adventures of Pinocchio’ designed by Dick Bird. The design realisation workshops at the Guildhall School have been a hive of activity over the past few weeks and we aren’t finished yet as this week is sure to be even busier as we fit the set up in our Silk Street Theatre. The construction workshop and the scenic art paintshop have been changing every day, with new scenic components being made and more layers of paint being applied to make what I’m sure will be a very interesting and impressive set. Here’s just a snippet of what’s been going on in scenic art and construction…(click on the pictures for a closer look!)

The blue fairy’s houses are now completed; vac-formed bricks applied and painted, roofs tiled and chalky slate washes sponged on and trompe l’oeil (literally ‘trick of the eye’) effects added to the perspective windows. There are a lot of interesting processes involved in making and painting each of the houses and I think you’ll agree they look brilliant. One of the elements that I particularly like is the paint effect on the doors that Will made. Kim has been learning the process of creating a crackled paint effect using size, a heated glue that is applied after the base colour. A top layer of paint a different colour is added which is force-dried using a heat gun. This method means that the top layer of paint that dries quickly separates, causing a cracked effect. The process is a fairly organic one meaning that it is quite difficult to predict the result although you can control the cracking to some extent; dictating the direction of the cracks by what way you apply the glue and the top layer, and the general size of the crack by how thickly you apply the paint.

Another interesting component that has been made this week, again by Will is the circus frustum. This piece is made from a timber skeletal structure with MDF wrapped around it. In order to bend the MDF around the shape, the sheets were dampened, clamped in place and left overnight so that when dry they naturally sat in a curved shape. Kim has been working on the paint finish for the frustum, masking off triangles shapes around the curve and adding a dark spray to the edges of each segment to age the piece. It’s a work-in-progress with the yellow still to do but here it is so far…

Another scenic element that has been worked on last week was the Funland sign; a large metal curved sign with decorative elements and letters secured in place. In order to create the piece, lengths of steel were rolled into curved shapes of various radiuses and welded together.  Here is the sign taking shape…

As well as vac-formed bricks, we have used a lot of other vac-formed pieces in the set. The ticket booth and the puppet theatre are both quite complicated pieces, made up from a combination of mouldings, vac form elements and shortwood mouldings to add a highly decorative look to the pieces. Although they take a while to build, and paint, I think you’ll agree they look very impressive when complete. Katie has painted the ticket booth with a variety of scenic processes, including a light crackle effect and antique gold on the mouldings as well as some signwriting. The puppet theatre has a similar effect on it which has been started but will be finished this week.

Well that’s just a small snippet of what we’ve been up to and some of the interesting scenic components that we’ve been working on. Fit-up has started so I’ll be sure to get some photos of the set taking shape in the theatre. Also not forgetting the props team who have been working non-stop on all of the props for the production; including the puppets for the puppet theatre, various masks, Pinocchio’s hair and even a set of whale’s teeth just to name a few! More photos to follow of course, stay tuned…

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Last fit-up of 2013…

Here it is, week 11 of the winter term and only two weeks left before the students break up for Christmas!  The set for our last drama of 2013, Marathon ’33 is safely in the Silk Street Theatre and the technical rehearsals have started ready for the show’s opening at the end of this week. 

The fit-up process was a particularly long one with lots of scenic elements that needed building in situ.  There are four main platforms of varying height that sit at opposite axes in the space and are made from a combination of steel deck and the circular steel deck structures that have been made over the last few weeks.  Two of these structures have been made using huge pieces of solid timber which have put together using coach screws with steel deck on top.

The front of all of the rounded deck have been faced with 18mm ply that has bent to shape using steam.  The steaming process allows the ply to become fairly flexible (for a very short time!) so that it can be bent around curved platforms and secured in place.  When the ply dries out again it retains most of this curved shape. 

There are also two large mirrors that hang at angles above the stage and show the audience the action that is taking place on the platforms.  The centre of the acting space, a large diamond shape is surrounded by a balustrade with advertising posters painted by the scenic art team pasted onto them.  The two scenic cloths sit proudly at either end of the space and above the seating banks more signs and bunting drape and hang. 

This show is a clear example of how collaborative a production can be with concerns to the design realisation department.  Although each individual department has been working solely on certain elements, components such as the cloths utilise skills from all three areas; the construction team built the frames, the scenic art team painted the cloths and the props team made the flip numbers that get used during the action.  Another interesting element of this production is the finish of the set.  The design uses the raw wood finish as the desired style which means that the scenic art team have focussed mainly on the painting the vast number of signs and complicated cloths and besides glazing the ply to protect it, have had very little painting to do on stage.  Instead the challenge for the construction team has been fitting-up the set whilst maintaining this raw wood finish- no filling or painting to cover unsightly joins! I think you’ll agree the set the looks fantastic and a really interesting look for our Silk Street Theatre. 

I’ll try to get some photos of some more of the props that been made including a hospital examination table and the camp beds.  It’s been non stop in the design realisation department this term, and things aren’t slowing down yet…next week is the turn of our first year students to show off their skills in this year’s Design Realisation Project.  Remember last year’s Las Vegas DRP? This year it’s a majestic Pompei paradise designed by our head of Design Realisation Vanessa Cass…stay tuned for some photos, it’s looking glorious!

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Time for the Opera…

As well as our two amazing productions currently running in our Milton Court venues, we are also preparing our Silk Street Theatre for this terms Opera, a Debussy and Donizetti double bill designed by Yannis Thavoris: http://www.gsmd.ac.uk/about_the_school/news/view/article/award_winning_opera_department_presents_a_double_bill_of_debussy_and_donizetti/

Hopefully you’ve seen some of the photos of us building and painting the set (if not scroll down to the previous post!) as well as some of the props being made for the production but here are some photos of the set being fitted-up into the theatre…

The main set component is a large platform that stretches across the stage and moves up and down stage.  There are also several pieces of scenery that fly into the space for different scenes including large white walls with doorways and a massive wall that consists of several flats, a large mirror, signs and a large portrait.  The floor also hides a secret but perhaps you’ll have to come and see the show (or wait until I get a picture!) to find out what it is…

Hope this wets your appetite for what is bound to be another fantastic Guildhall School opera!

 

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First look at Three Sisters in Milton Court…

Well the summer holidays are in full swing, the design realisation students and the rest of the technical theatre cohort have once again dispersed across the country- and the world! Back to their families, re-charging their batteries and getting ready for their next year at the Guildhall School…

Most of the staff are also taking time out too, a well deserved break for everyone!  That said, it didn’t quite stop for some of the technical theatre staff at the end of the summer term as we were getting ready for our next big production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters- our first production which will take place in our amazing new venue, the Milton Court Theatre in our new building.  The show, which will open in October is going to be something of a spectacle with a wonderful set designed by Libby Watson.  The set (and the theatre!) presents many challenges for the design realisation staff and indeed the rest of the technical staff at the Guildhall School because it has a fully automated flying system which is very different to the counterweight flying system installed in the Silk Street Theatre.  The fully automated system is an amazing step forward for our department; not only does it allow us to be more creative, flexible and safe with the way we manipulate scenery in the new venue, it also means that we are at the very tip of cutting edge with concerns to the technology we are using in the theatre and of course what we are able to present to our students.  The ability for our students to learn how to use automated flying systems in Milton Court as well as maintaining training of counterweight flying in Silk Street is essential and as usual means that our students are kept up to date with new and emerging technologies within technical theatre.

But of course, the staff have to get the grips of it all first…

During the first two weeks of the holidays some of the technical theatre staff were in the new Milton Court theatre fitting up the Three Sisters set.  It’s a massive learning curve for the staff too but here’s how we got on…

As you can see it’s looking pretty good!  The ceiling is designed so that at various stages in the show it is positioned in different places.  The ceiling goes from horizontal, to at an angle and to vertical so that it can fly out completely.  The use of automation means that the whole process is completed fluid and smooth.  The rigging of the ceiling is also quite an interesting process as it has been constructed in such a way that the huge section takes up as little room as possible when flown out but also has the ability to create an amazing ceiling over the space.  This was achieved by the use of 3 pulleys which were mounted onto specially welded  brackets that straddle bars 13 and 15 to make them one unit.  The upstage edge of the ceiling is supported by the pickups from the upstage bar.  The downstage edge of the ceiling has pick ups from hoists in the grid that run through the pulleys and onto the downstage of the ceiling.  This means that the ceiling is fully supported but by the pulleys offsetting the hoists, the whole mechanism is kept with the tight constrains of three bars width on stage.

Here is a drawing of the ceiling section showing all of the calculations for the movement of the ceiling and also another huge set piece; the bi-fold doors.  There is also a picture of a mock-up model that was made to design the mechanism for the ceiling.

And if that doesn’t make any sense…maybe this will show you what we’ve achieved…

As you can see we’ve been busy and that isn’t all!  The scenic art team spent a week painting the remaining set pieces and the back wall and bi-fold doors of the set have been fitted up.  I’m not going to post any photos yet, we have to save something until September!  Hope you are as excited about our new theatre as we are…

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DRealisation, like us on Facebook, follow us on Pinterest and watch videos on YouTube…all a work in progress but so is everything in Design Realisation!

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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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A week in the Silk Street Theatre…

Well it is the end of week four in the summer term and that only means one thing: preparations for this term’s opera are well and truly under way.  The set for the upcoming opera, Owen Wingrave, has been fitting up in the Silk Street theatre this week and is looking pretty good.  Here’s what the construction team have been up to this week…

There are a lot of components that make up the set for this opera production, the main one being the long traverse stage that stretches into the auditorium with a large platform built up with treads at the stage end. The parquet flooring which has been painted black by the scenic art team has been laid on the steeldeck stage with a broken jagged edge at one end. Other important elements include a grave near the centre of the long platform, a huge frame (and a secret element or two that you will have to wait and see) near the back of the set, as well as two huge projections screens at either side of the set. It’s been a busy week with a lot of people helping and it has been lovely having our first year students working on the production.

The scenic art team have been busy too this week; continuing their work on the production of May 08 at the Bridewell Theatre which opens tomorrow as well as working on Owen Wingrave…lots of black and gloss glaze to give the set its high gloss finish. The team tackled the parquet floor during a paintcall on stage this week, adding texture to some of the tiles with an idenden mixture. The floor will get its high gloss glaze early tomorrow morning so I will be sure to get some photos of it when it is done.

It hasn’t just been a busy week for the scenic construction and scenic art team, the props department have been working hard on the pheasants and rabbit for the opera. Every time I walk past there is something new and interesting happening in the props department so I will make sure I get some photos of props taking shape, as well as the finished set this week.

That’s a lot of work, and we are only four weeks into the term! Stay tuned for all the goings on of another busy week ahead…

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Last ‘project’ of the term…

Well it’s been none-stop over the last few weeks for the Design Realisation Department working on the final two productions of the term; The Laramie Project which is in our Silk Street Theatre and Opera Scenes in the studio.

The main set for The Laramie Project is a series of steeldeck structures that make up platforms of various heights.  These are all clad with ply planks which have been meticulously ripped down to size and painted.  There are also two huge telegraph poles that sit within these structures with telegraph lines stretching from one end of the stage to the other.  These telegraph poles have been an ultimate collaboration project between the three design realisation departments; scenic construction have built the main poles, props have added the details like the cross beams, cast iron feet and the insulators, whilst scenic art have painted them.

The telegraph poles were made by cutting lengths of timber down with angles on each edge.  These were then nailed onto circular pieces of 18mm plywood called ‘formers’ which are used to create the shape.  The poles then went through a rigorous process of planing and sanding to make them round and with the slightly rustic quality you would expect from a solid piece of tree trunk.

The main structure which is made up from a series on steel decks at various heights is completely covered with ply planks which have had their first few layers of paint applied prior to the fit-up.  Here are some photos of the construction team, led by third year design realisation student Meg constructing the main structure, securing the planks putting the telegraph poles into place…

Meanwhile the scenic art team have been working hard on the planking for the set.  Each plank requires at least two coats of paint wash which will then be working into during paintcalls on stage when the planks have been laid.  There are well over 500 planks that have been cut and painted for the set, that’s over 1300 meters!  The paint job is quite an interesting one however with several signs positioned around the set.  Most of these have to be painted on stage within quite strict time constraints so the team have been preparing their pounces to speed the process up.  Here are some photos of the scenic art team led by third year student Andrea working on the planks and painting the Coca Cola sign during a very busy evening on stage…

The scenic art team have another paint call next week which will involve adding some colour and washes to the planks and tying the whole set in together so I will add some photos of the beautiful paint effect then.

It’s been non-stop in the props department too over the last few weeks.  The rocks for Opera Scenes have been finished and work is well under way for the 11 pairs of angel wings for The Laramie Project.  One pair of the wings have to open out fully so third year design realisation student Lai, who is co-ordinating the props team this term, has been coming up with a system for the this to happen which includes an aluminium framework covered with material and feathers.  These are going to look very impressive when they are finished! Meanwhile second year George has been turning all of the wooden insulators for the top of the telegraph poles; there are loads of them but George has got the hang of it and is churning them out…

The whole set looks very impressive and lots of people have spent a long time working on it over the last few weeks.  One of the nice things about fit-up is that we get to work quite intensively with other departments, mainly production management and we have had the help of loads of the first year Theatre Technology students who have been a valuable asset helping with the huge task of securing the floorboards…all 500 of them!

Pictures of the finished set, the paint job and the wings next week…

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Figaro Fit-up

The Silk Street Theatre and the Scenic Construction workshops have been a furiously busy this week as the fit-up for Le nozze de Figaro continues. The main focus over the last few days has been the enormous truck light box that tracks from downstage to upstage. Here are some photos of the main truck being constructed…

The truck was built in situ with tracks laid onto the stage floor and MDF sheets laid around it to raise the floor level up to the height of the track. The main base of the truck consists of laddered sections of steel welded together with cross bracing sections. This base holds a series of steel decks with small ‘feet’ bolted into the leg sockets of the deck and welded to the base section. The steel base is strong enough to support a 2 foot overhang at the front to give the impression of the box floating in space and the truck also has double castors at the front to make allowances for the additional weight. The truck been laid with thin MDF sheets to provide a clean and smooth surface for the scenic art team to paint to match with the rest of the gloosy white finish of the box. To ensure that the truck runs smoothly in a straight line, a steel guide has been secured to the stage which will work alongside two pairs of castors mounted on their sides and secuired to the centre underside of the truck. The wheels will run along this guide rail to counteract any sideways movement to keep the truck safely on track.

The side walls of the truck form part of the light box illusion. They have been constructed from box steel which has been welded together and clad with MDF and have been built in three pieces and bolted together in the space. The insides of these sections have been filled with flourescent lighting and LED’s so a lot of co-ordination between the construction department and the lighting team has taken place to ensure there are sufficient fixings available to support the various lights required. The front of these sections have been clad with Opal perspex which looks glossy and white (matching the paint finish of the box) under normal lighting but translucent when lit from behind.

The roof section of the box has been constructed in three large sections in the same way as the side walls, with a steel core and clad with MDF and timber. Getting the pieces into position required the help of the production management team to help hoist each section into the air, move the truck so that it aligns underneath and then lower the ceiling into position to be bolted into place.

There are still elements to be added such as the top of the ceiling to hide the steel structure as well as doors and skirting for example but I think you’ll agree that for now it’s looking pretty impressive!

More photos of the finishing stages coming up as well as all the intersting things happening in the props department…

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