Posts Tagged With: paintcall

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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More than an ‘hour’ late, but better than never…

I know I know…the curtain came down on our last show of the spring term a week ago and I still haven’t posted any photos of the technical rehearsal as promised! Fear not, I will make up for my tardiness by sharing with you not only some interesting photos of the set and props on stage, but also of the boat being finished and a time lapse video of one of the paintcalls…it’ll be worth the wait!

Here are some photos that Jasmine took for me during one of the technical rehearsals.  You can see some of the props that have been made over the last few weeks including the crib, the stained glass window and an amazing tree stump hat (that is also a stool) made by one of our freelance prop makers Dave.  I think you’ll agree that the props looks fantastic on stage and especially under the stage lighting, designed by our third year Theatre Technology student Max Narula!

The set also looks fantastic.  Designed by Agnes Treplin and beautifully realised by the scenic construction and scenic art department. The grey textured paint effect with a concrete feel to it covers the vast amount of flattage around the space and of course the floor and the huge sloping platform that stretches into the space.  The sharp lines of this platform and the disappearing edge look brilliant under lighting as does the permanent trap built into the floor with stairs leading down.

Our new sound lecturer Andy Taylor created a time lapse of the Silk Street Theatre over the entire production period and has created this video of the first paintcall on stage.  You can see us applying a base coat of grey paint, waiting for it to dry (don’t worry it’s sped up!) before applying different shades of grey using bobby rollers to create the concrete effect.  A second layer of spray and spatter was added during another paintcall but here’s the first video to get you started…

As you can see it was a brilliant show and looked amazing, it was so nice to see out Silk Street Theatre used in such an interesting way and the selection of props that were made for the show were incredible.  Next term we have some more interesting shows and some lovely sets to work on so come back after the easter break to see more of what we get up to 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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We’ve been busy…

Well as usual we have been so busy that I have a computer full of photos I have yet to share with you, and every time I try to post them, something new and interesting happens in the design realisation workshops and I end up taking more photos…

Last week was no exception; the workshops were bustling with students and everywhere you looked something new and exciting was happening.  The scenic art workshop was particularly busy with the last week of associated studies taking place.  Six new first year faces from the other technical theatre streams tried their hands at learning some scenic art skills.  Throughout the week students learnt a variety of scenic art processes from woodgraining, brick work and texturing to spraying, stencilling and dirtying down.  Here are some photos of what they created, looking forward to seeing some of these faces back in the workshops next year for their minor electives…

The rest of the scenic art department have been working hard on the first two productions of the term; the devised piece May 08 which will be in the Bridewell Theatre, and our opera this term Owen Wingrave which will be in our Silk Street theatre.  For May 08 the scenic art workshop was transformed into a sunny paradise with yellow being the theme of the week.  The team stretched and painted two large scenic cloths with a gradient effect of bright yellow fading up the canvas.  They also sprayed a similar fade onto the bottom of the wall section (which the scenic construction associated studies team constructed the week before). Yesterday some of the construction team went down to the Bridewell Theatre to lay the yellow floor that had been painted, which the scenic art team worked on last night; adding a second and third coat of the yellow to create a solid and intense colour as well as finishing the floor with a matt glaze to protect it from scuffs and scrapes.  What do you think?

That’s not all the scenic art team have been up recently, they have also been working on the parquet flooring for the opera.   All of the flooring with the parquet design on has been sent out to a special company to be CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) routed with the intricate pattern on.  Edd drew the parquet design on AutoCAD for the sheets which will be used for the floor as well as cladding for the treads.  The floor is being painted black with a high gloss finish added after it has been laid.

Things have been hotting up in the props department recently too.  The props team have been working hard on the varied prop makes for Owen Wingrave including the picture frame light boxes, a ‘smart’ table and some dead pheasants and rabbits.  Meg and Tom have started working on the skeletons for the animals and Jennie has been making the metal frame for the table this week.  The table is made from angle iron which are extruded lengths of heavy-duty steel in the shape of an ‘L’ at a right angle.  Jennie has been working hard cutting mitres on the steel for the top section which have been carefully welded together using a wooden jig to hold it square.  Lots of clamps and timber held the legs in place to keep them square while it was being welded and I think you will agree it looks very ‘smart’…(couldn’t resist)! 

The construction team have also been getting stuck into Owen Wingrave; building among other things, a massive 3 dimensional frame and working on a large set of treads clad with the parquet flooring.  The fit-up for the opera starts next week so I will be sure to get some photos of the set taking shape in the Silk Street Theatre but here is a little taster of what has been going on…

Well that’s your lot for now (I told you I had a lot of photos!)…next week there should be some interesting shots of the fit-up as well as the rabbits and pheasants taking shape!   Also just to note if you haven’t spotted the new page at the top of the blog our ‘sustainability’ page then check it out and see what the design realisation department are doing to reduce our impact on the environment…one set at a time!

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Picture of the week…

A quiet moment of reflection…second year Jennie surveying an evening’s hard work at the end of a busy paintcall for The Laramie Project.

First show tonight- good luck to all involved especially all the technical theatre students (and staff!) working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this another successful and world class Guildhall School production!

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Scenic Art team working their magic…

Here are a couple of photos from the paintcall last night for The Laramie Project. 

The scenic art team were on stage last night adding washes and spatter to the set to inject a bit more character into the floorboards and the signs.  The production is in technical rehearsals this week and opens on Friday.  I think it’s safe to say it is going to be another brilliant Guildhall School production with lots of theatre magic thrown in!

The paint effect on the planks (all 500+ of them!) looks amazing and the telegraph poles really stand out as a great example of what the Design Realisation department are all about; lots of character, high quality and proudly standing out from the crowd!

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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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Proposing a ‘Toast’ to a good day’s work!

The scenic art department have been working hard today down at the Bridewell Theatre off Fleet Street, painting the set for a production of Toast which is based in the staff room of a bakery. Sets such as this make a change from the oversized scenery pieces that the scenic art team are used to painting for productions in our Silk Street Theatre, but they are no less interesting! The team did a great job today transforming the space into a grungy, tobacco stained room complete with filthy walls, tea stained carpet tiles and flour trodden into the floor. Stay tuned for a photo of the finished article but here are some of the team hard at work…

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