Posts Tagged With: scenic cloth

Three departments, two shows, so many photos…

Firstly, I can’t quite believe it’s nearly the end of week 3 already! Secondly, I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything about what we’ve been up to here in design realisation this term yet! I can honestly tell it’s been non-stop here in the workshop at the Guildhall School; three lots of Associated Studies (where 1st year students in other TTA streams try their hands at design realisation), one production in the Milton Court Studio and one giant opera set ready to head into the Milton Court Theatre next week…

I might as well tell you in pictures, that way you don’t have to read my rambling explanations of what we’ve been doing, and I don’t have to try to remember it all!

A snippet of what props have been working on:

And meanwhile in construction:

And in scenic art:

Phew! I told you we’d been busy! Next week is fit-up for the opera double bill in the Milton Court Theatre.  The scenic art team have been texturing and painting the floor over there too so I will be sure get some photos of that and the fit-up in progress which is always one of my favourite things to blog about.  Also stay tuned for more goings on in the prop department…

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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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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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Another busy week for the Design Realisation team…

The design realisation workshops have been very busy this last week as all of the staff and students have been focusing all of their energy on building and painting the scenery and props for this year’s musical Rags which will open in our Silk Street Theatre in a couple of weeks.  There has been so much going on that it’s been hard to keep up but hopefully I have managed to take enough photos to show you just a bit of what has been going on over the past few days… The scenic construction department have been very busy, so busy in fact I had hardly have any photos of what’s been going on- every time I turn around something new is happening!  The team have been cracking out scenery left right and center this week, making all of the brick flats and welding some interesting steel frames that are going to have a nice rust finish on them. Here’s a couple of shots to get you going, I will make sure I get some amazing photos next week of the fit-up which is always a fascinating process…

The props team have also been busy this week making flags, banners and carts for Rags…among other things!  I’ve managed to get another photo of our new Design Realisation Assistant Grace making a banner and putting her prop making experience to good use this week and of course third year Meg and second year Katie have been working full on as well continuing on the range of props required for this year’s musical.  Here are a few photos of some of the props taking shape, can’t wait to see them finished they look great!

It’s hard to miss what has been going on in the paintshop this week; every inch of the space is taken up with different scenic element being painted or textured ready for fit-up next week. One of the biggest tasks this week has been texturing all of the brick walls for the musical.  The realistic brick effect is made up from quite a few layers.  First the flats are primed with a mixture of glue, sawdust and water which acts as a gritty base to hold the texture in place.  Next an artex and sawdust mix is applied with the use of a template (lovingly made by the construction team!) which is left to dry overnight.  Then the painting process begins; the base of grout grey is applied followed by the two brick colours.  Then a dry bush technique is used to add more depth to the bricks by applying contrasting brick colours.  Dirty washes are then added to the flat finally followed by a dark speckle spray…phew! I think you’ll agree that’s a long process, but hopefully you think it’s worth it, I think they look brilliant!

As well as all of the bricks, the scenic art team have been busy working on the two cloths for Rags.  Second year design realisation student Hannah has been putting her scenic art skills to the test this week taking the lead on painting the ‘harlequin’ cloth for the musical.  The cloth is mainly black with a lovely checkerboard effect that disappears off into the horizon so they have been drawn up and masked off in perspective.  The white squares are painted to look like marble with grey sponged into them and then marble like veins added.  It looks brilliant already and will look fabulous next to the pink and gold Yiddish proscenium that was built and painted last week.  I will be sure to get a photo of these items together during fit-up…

The final (and biggest) scenic element that the paintshop team have been working on this week is the colossal backcloth for the musical.  The cloth, which measures about 10 meters by 6 has a wonderful image of the New York skyline painted onto it, framed by a series of oversized bricks.  The cloth is a filled cloth which has been painted with layers and layers of paint on the more solid areas, such as the bricks and the buildings, and with only a thin wash of colour on the sky.  This will allow the cloth to be lit from behind during the show so that the sky will have a different appearance based on the scene on stage.  There is still some work to be done on the cloth but I couldn’t wait any longer to post it here…I think you will agree it’s well worth a look and represents the scenic art talents of our third year Design Realisation students Nancy and Daisy very well! What do you think?

I told you we had been busy! And it doesn’t stop there…next week it’s fit-up so the construction team are going to be very busy putting the set for Rags into our Silk Street Theatre.  The scenic art department are going to be working hard finishing the cloths and the props team are going to be getting the props ready for tech week.  All in all it is going to be a very busy week for the design realisation department, working on the last main production of this academic year, and the last show that our third year students will be working on before they leave Guildhall School and enter the industry.  It sounds like we have our work cut out for us…but as usual…we’re game!

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