Posts Tagged With: Graduation project

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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Week six and some clowning around…

It’s the end of week 6 now, half way through the term and for our second year students exactly half way through their degrees! As you’ve seen the last 6 weeks have been pretty busy and all of the staff and students have been working hard creating some amazing productions here at the Guildhall School.  The set for Pinocchio is in the theatre, and bar a few touch-ups of paint and little tweaks to the set it is finished.  The props department have been working hard this week adding the finishing touches to the last few props for show.  Before I get a photo of the props usually they have been whisked away by a stage manager ready to be put on the set or worn by an actor but I managed to catch a few props in the latter stages of making including the Pinocchio hair, the Fox’s mask, the boat, the swimming Pinocchio, the Owl mask and the finished puppets in all their glory! Of course these pictures barely scratch the surface of what the prop’s department has been up to…

Meanwhile, in the paintshop, one of our third year students Jennie Leech has been showing off her hard work and skills in her Graduation Project.  This circus themed ‘cut out’ carnival board (the sort of thing you see at the seaside…but waaay bigger!) was part of a six week project that Jennie designed and made herself.  Here is Jennie with her finished piece:

Jennie and her project

We all had great fun yesterday, clowning around with Jennie’s interactive project; the moving trunk, balloons and bursting through sign are all 3D elements that add another dimension to the piece and complete with newly composed circus themed music the whole paintshop was transformed!  Jennie took photos of everyone who got involved and so I thought it was only fair to post a few of them here…especially the ones with technical theatre staff in…

If you missed it, you missed a treat but I think you’ll agree it looks fabulous! 

Well that’s it for another week, on to week 7 next and our next show.  There’s just one more thing to say…this is the 100th post on the Design Realisation Blog and part of me has been wondering for a while what I was going to post; should it be something more fun or interesting? Maybe something completely different?  But then I thought, you can’t get much more different than a load of staff and students having a laugh and joking around, all the while showing off the work of one of our third year students! So that’s what I decided, post 100 would be just like normal, lots of photos and hopefully something a bit different every time.  Thanks for being one of the 31,300 viewers so far, as always I’m blown away by the response and support of the blog…come back soon! Abi

  me clown

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A ‘dill-ightful’ Christmas ‘tree…t’!

Here’s one I made earlier…

Well for those of you who don’t know me personally, there are two things I should tell you:

Firstly, I hate being late. I can’t stand being late for anything, or forgetting to do things on time.

Secondly, I love Christmas and everything to do with it!

 So I am very disappointed in myself for forgetting to upload the following post, not least because I had written it all and taken all the photos and because it contains some more examples of some of our students’ excellent work.  However, I hope you will forgive me because I got caught up in all the festive goings-on at Guildhall School and beyond…

 So please think back to the 30th of November, before the smell of turkey and the taste of Christmas pudding took over your senses, and read the post below as intended, ignoring my very tardy blogging, with my apologies!

Well it’s the last day of November and Christmas cheer is surging its way through the corridors of the Guildhall School.  There’s no way of avoiding it today as the annual Christmas Festival is in full swing.  The festival is an entirely student led collaboration celebrating the range of talent across the entire school and is organised this year by Henry Rivers, one of our third year technical theatre students.  There’s a full schedule of exciting events in every nook and cranny of the school today and even Santa Claus has turned up to spread some joy…although I must say he does look a lot like second year TT student Sam Gosling!

The Christmas Festival means that it is the last official day of the autumn term for our technical theatre students.  I can’t believe 12 weeks have passed already since we welcomed this year’s new cohort of students onto the course; they’ve settled in so well they already feel like they’ve been here for years!

As usual our dedicated students are working right up to the last minute.  Two of our third year design realisation students have been working hard on their Graduation Projects which they completed this week, strangely both are involving trees…

Meg Courage has designed and built a modern Christmas tree display for the Barbican Centre (literally next door!) which is being used as the main display stand for their pop-up Christmas shop.  The tree, which has been crafted entirely from reclaimed materials, is made from old wooden pallets and aluminium ducting, accented by a lime green trim to complement the Barbican’s bright colours scheme.  The tree is a modern, industrial take on the traditional Christmas tree and certainly looks impressive in the Barbican’s foyer.  Do take a look if you fancy some Christmas shopping or just to see Meg’s tree in all its glory…

Megan's tree

Ellie Pit meanwhile has been working hard on her own Graduation Project, another tree, but this time quite a bit smaller…

Ellie's Tree

Ellie decided to recreate a tree from the Cartoon Network program ‘Adventure Time’ designing a life-like miniature version of the original cartoon image such that could be used in a film adaptation.  The model, which would be a 1:50 scale model of a full size set has been designed and constructed in a similar way to the models used on films such as Harry Potter, for sweeping footage of the entirety of Hogwarts for example.

Ellie's tree 2

Looking closely at the model it’s clear that Ellie has focused a great deal on the intricate little details such as the well and the boat to name but a few.  An especially creative choice of Ellie’s is the use of dill for the willow leaves- not only does it look very realistic, it smells heavenly!

Ellie's tree 3

The level of work shown by both Ellie and Megan is such a good representation of the high quality work that all of our students produce.  I can’t wait for next term to see what other amazing things our design realisation students work on.  Have a wonderful Christmas everyone, get lots of rest for the New Year is bound to be a busy one…

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What a ‘sweet’ Graduation Project…

Take a look at third year Lai’s Graduation Project which was exhibited in the Design Realisation workshops this afternoon:

This Graduation Project which allows third year students to propose their own brief and showcase their abilities in their chosen field, is the first of the Design Realisation Graduation projects of the academic year.  Lai created this Hobbit-sized sweet shop for her project and wanted to show her abilities in all three of the design realisation departments: Scenic Construction, Scenic Art and Props.  What do you think?

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