Posts Tagged With: texture

Vincent and the Yellow House

This years DR project for our first year students has been design by our props lecturer Pat Shammon and was based around Vincent van Gogh and the time he spent in a house in Arles, France which, for a short time, he shared with fellow artist Paul Gaugin.

model-1

Model box

 

Pat had designed the project as a 2 part installation, the first section was designed as a curved wall exhibiting a collection of literature and images about Van Gogh’s life and works in and around the time that he lived in the yellow house with the backdrop blending into a painting of the ‘Café Terrace at Night.’

img_3182

The curved wall was made in three sections by our first years Spike and Lucy. Canvass was then glued over the plywood cladding ready for painting.

 

The flats were painted a deep blue which would then be blended into the painting of Van Gogh’s ‘Café terrace at Night.’

img_3134

Once the painting was completed fairy lights were inserted into the canvass in the centre of the painted stars.

img_1442The display tables were made and mounted to the curved wall and Marcus painted the introduction text onto the flat by hand…(patience of a saint!)img_1439

 

The second section depicted an immersive, abstract imagining of what one of the rooms inside the house may have looked like. Here Pat took inspiration from Van Gogh’s paintings to inform the appearance and decoration of the props and the dressing of the room.

img_3169

In the set we can see influences from ‘The bedroom,’ and  ‘Paul Gauguin’s Chair,’ amongst others. These paintings were used as references for the creation of the distorted furniture pieces and the colours and textures used to paint them and their surroundings.

The walls of the room were made as TV flats which were then clad and textured with artex. Once dried, a mix of two washes were applied to give the appearance of old plastered walls. Once installed they received a thin, black spray across the tops and down the corner to give the appearance of soot.

The window itself was made by our very own workshop elf (otherwise known as construction lecturer Edd Smith) Which was a beautiful piece and really helped to pull the two sections of the installation together! Shhh don’t tell anyone!

The floor of the room was made up of 9″x 1″ rough sawn timber which we nailed to a steel deck platform.

img_3132

Most excitingly we produced our first piece of work from our new CNC router. Andy was able to use it to cut out the exhibition title.

The Furniture

Spike had the challenge of creating a chair to represent Van Gogh’s painting of Gauguin’s chair and successfully imitated the distorted nature of the chair in the painting. The seat itself was made from caved polystyrene and the paint work replicated that of the original painting.

 

Jess made Van Gogh’s own chair, again taking inspiration from the painting. You can see how the paint and distortion of the prop imitate the style and shapes within the artwork.

Beth created the side table from ‘The Bedroom’ Painting which again had a great distorted element to it and the paint effect perfectly replicated that of the original painting.

 

Still Life

Alongside their prop making our first years also created some amazing still life drawings that would represent the sketches of Van Gogh and Gauguin on the floor of the studio. We set up a still life display in our props workshops from which the students worked from. Pat tried to incorporate items similar to those that Gauguin and Van Gogh were drawing from.

After a workshop with Vanessa (scenic art lecturer and head of DR), on painting with a palette knife, our first years created some artist copies of Van Gogh works which would be hung on the walls and placed around the set.

These artworks were very effective in displaying the range of work Van Gogh completed in this period as well as creating the look and feel of a working art studio.

To enhance the immersive feel of the installation, artificial candles were placed in the set and soup was set in the pan on top of the stove to make it feel as if the room had been very recently occupied and that we (the viewer) had stumbled into the world of the artist.

It has been a great project and the result was impressive and very well received. Our first year work hard to pull this project together and it paid off. Well done to all the first year students and a BIG THANK YOU to Elliot Smith (our 2nd year TT student for his brilliant lighting of the set)!

img_3180

group-shot-1

Time for a Christmas party methinks!!!!!

img_3191

Advertisements
Categories: Design Realisation Project, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Head first into the summer opera double bill.

The workshops are in full swing and beginning to fill with the pieces of our opera double bill. Arianne and Alexandre Bis has our students working on realising the designs of Simon Corder.

Here is a snapshot of the samples produced by scenic art for the set. We have three main finishes that need to be produced for this set. We have a yellow marble finish, a painted number grid and a white-washed concrete finish. Here are the samples that were put together for Simon to look at.

IMG_2407

 

Construction have been busy building all the necessary flats to make up the walls of the set and treads for the show and with the help of our TT students, who are with us for their associated studies, we seem to be making good progress.

Construction have also had the pleasure of realising one of the more decorative features of the set. Alice, Lana and Oscar under the instruction of Andy were able to have a bit of fun in creating the Baroque style fireplace.

The main frame was made from timber which was clad with ply to give us the basic shape. The edges of the frame were decorated by laying a border of a thick plaster mix and then shaped with a purpose made jig to give the edge shape you see below.

the larger decorative mouldings were made by pouring plaster into vac formed moulds and the attaching these to the timber frame. The The mouldings were strengthened by laying hessian into the plaster.

Andy also sculpted some extensions with clay to finish off sections of pattern too fit and align with the size and shape of the piece. A mould was made of these clay sculpts which was them cast to create a finished plaster section.

The pieces were then screwed onto the main frame using the supports that had been set into them.

The joins were then filled and moulded by hand to give the impression it was one fluid piece.

IMG_2513

The piece was then ready for a paint job. Our second year student Lana and I finished the piece by applying a marble paint effect.

IMG_2613

 

Our scenic art students began their process by texturing the flats. This was done by covering them with a thin layer of idenden which gave the surface a rough concrete texture. They were then painted white and a raw umber wash applied to the bottom sections.

 

In props our students have been busy constructing miniature models of  the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and Sacre Coeur which will sit on plinths around the walls of the set.They have been using mainly styrofoam to construct the models and some of the final details will be drawn in CAD and 3D printed.

Emily did a great job at gilding the large picture frame to give a degraded finish. This prop piece will sit above the fireplace.

 

Props have also had the opportunity to work on some polycarving. In front of the fireplace is to be placed a decorative peacock fire gate. Sneha with the help of Anna carved the peacock from blocks of polystyrene. This was then covered with layers of foamcoat to help smooth the surface before being painted in metallics.

 

Alongside preparing the opera set, we have had students from other areas of technical theatre creating work for either a personal project or getting stuck in with assisting on the construction of the Alexandre Bis set.

Here are some example of the work going on amongst our associated studies students.

Fit Up….

 

Fit up for the opera went relatively smoothly. It began by constructing the steel deck truck onto which the set was attached. The walls and treads went in first, followed by the windows and balcony.

 

Once the set was attached to the truck we had to attach some breaks to it. However…we didn’t have any rubber fixed to the breaks we had… so we improvised…

…Worked a treat!

IMG_2528

Categories: Design Realisation Project, Opera, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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…

IMG_1803

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.

IMG_2126

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!

 

Categories: Design Realisation Project, Opera, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog is back for a Cunning Christmas

Hello world! Would you believe it?! Already the jolly season is with us and we are thus far blogless… No excuses I’m afraid other than being ear deep in set making and Design Realising, nonetheless; here comes the blog…

It’s been a very interesting term so far with two productions going out on the main stage at Silk Street: The Cunning Peasant and Her Naked Skin. While two more productions: True Dare Kiss and South Downs/The Browning Version – a double bill, were climbing the treads over at our Milton Court Studio Theatre. This blog is a quick run down of what went on during the build for The Cunning Peasant by Dvořák.

In the workshops it was a polystyrene skills fest bonanza as the team set to realising the darkly imagined Tudor timber framed Burton-esque vision of Thomas Hardy’s Essex as designed by Francis O’Connor.

First port of call on the build was – as it so often is – the construction of mass flattage. On this occasion steel frame flats were the order of the day, clad with 4mm ply to provide a base on to which we can glue polystyrene sheets which could then be carved into the herringbone brick infill. Strips of MDF cladding were fixed on top of the polystyrene to create a timber frame appearance synonymous with Tudor Period buildings.

Once the polystryrene had been marked up with the brick formation it was out with the kitchen knives and flat head screwdrivers to carve out the mortar lines and apply plenty of distressing to the edges of the ‘bricks’ adding to the realism. After this we use heat guns to consolidate the carved surface by slightly melt the surface of the poly before finally applying that ubiquitous flexible coating medium – Idenden; which provides a textured surface ready for painting.

Another element of the design which provided a great opportunity to hone our poly carving skills were the plentiful roof tiles. Each tile was cut from 8’ x 4’ sheets of foil covered insulation board, more often found insulating the walls and ceilings of buildings but as always we’re making use of everyday materials in innovative ways. So, the foil was peeled off and the edges of each tile distressed a little with the kitchen knives to look like slate, and once again the Idenden goes on prior to final paint effects, spatter, dry brushing and washes and voilà, roof tiles!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Some elements of the design were sky high and this called for some heavy industrial metal processing; time for our monster Ring Rolling machine to be rolled out so we could curve some huge sections of steel tubing. All of our best remembered geometry and GCSE mathematics knowledge were dragged up from the depths and it was best sohcahtoa’s forward to employ some marvelous numeric wizardry and where that didn’t work we bent it a bit more until it did fit!

Our Ring Rolling machine is able to create large or tight curves in anything from light to heavy gauge steel, in square section, flat bar, rod and tube. This section of the design was to be flown above the stage, yet appear to be a continuation of the curved walls, in order to provide enough strength across the span of this section we used 3mm wall mild steel scaffold tubing – which is a demonstration the power of this Ring Rolling machine. The curves were carefully calculated and welded together before extra sections were added creating a branch like structure, on to which more roof tiles were T-nailed into place to create a kind of deconstructing blown away house morphing in to a tree effect, as I perceived it, for me it was a rich and conceptual design which was both interesting and functional in drawing attention to the whole space.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two movable houses were also part of the build, one made from wooden flats and the other house from welded steel, as the 1st storey had to be fully functioning as a 1st floor. Both were mounted on wheeled trucks and both required more poly carving and of course roof tiles! End result; two extremely des-res, well-appointed – if a little compact, mock Tudor properties in a prime location in Central London. Not sure we can afford the rent on those, maybe we could use them as halls of residence for our new first years…

Speaking of whom….

I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of our new first years who have thus far been inducted into the beginning of their technical theatre education. After spending the first few weeks sampling various areas of our cross discipline faculty we threw then head first into a major build for their self-led Design Realisation Project! Results were stunning BUT… I’m giving nothing away until January, when a full run down with photographic evidence will take the form of our first blog of 2015, that’s right I said it 2015! Ouch!

See you then blogland

Design Realisation

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A look through the window…

The technical rehearsals for our upcoming show ‘The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other’ are well under way; if you stand in the paintshop long enough you will hear a very strange collection of sound effects rattling through the dock doors…dog barks, a plane taking off…a blood curdling scream to name but a few.  In the paintshop, our second and third year scenic art team are starting work on their personal projects where they choose a painting to produce in the last couple of weeks in the department.  They’ve just finished the last piece of work for the ‘The Hour…’, a large ‘rug’ that has a road surface and tyre tracks on one side and the same concrete grey on the other.  The whole thing has to be rolled up and carried so the team have had to limit the amount of texture they use.  They have applied a mix of idenden (a texture coating that dries solid, yet flexible so it doesn’t crack) and vermiculite (an insulation material that we add to idenden and artex for a chunky texture).  The team used a stencil of tyre tracks to mark out the pattern which was then used as a guide for applying the texture.  Small shrubs of grass were applied along the centre strip and then the whole thing was painted.  Here are a couple of photos after the texture has been applied and then the finished rug:

Textured road, ready to paintThe finsihed road

Meanwhile in the props department, Jasmine has finished her stained glass window that she has been working on.  The pictures on the plastic glazing have been painstakingly drawn out and painted in and as you can see it looks beautiful.  The window is seen from both sides so a lot of work has gone into this prop and I think you’ll agree with me that the finished item looks very impressive indeed- well done Jas!

 

In the scenic construction department, the team are putting the finishing touches on the funeral barge which I will be sure to get photos of as it’s being finished and painted.  As promised I will also get some photos of the set during the tech rehearsals so stay tuned…

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring week 2…

It’s looking like week two here in the design realisation workshops; scenic art associated studies is taking place in the paintshop with first year students from other pathways getting their first taste of what it’s like to do scenic art here at the Guildhall School.  They are learning all about a variety of scenic art techniques ranging from creating textures, to wood graining…and a whole lot in between! What is interesting in the paintshop at the moment is that in addition to the associated studies bricks, which have been created using a brick template and artex, the paintshop is full of vacformed brick flats for the upcoming opera Pinocchio which the team are painting.  The effect for the opera is slightly different in that the bricks are much darker with a black base coat and layers of earthy colours dry-brushed and sponged on top.  They are going to have a dark wash on them as a final process which always makes such a difference with the bricks- tieing all of the colours together, ageing and adding depth.  I think you’ll agree they are looking really impressive…and huge now that they are put together and on the paintframe (thanks to construction!). 

Speaking of the construction team, they have been hard at work too; working on the rest of the set for Pinocchio.  Here they are making the Blue Fairy’s house flat, which involves working out and cutting quite a few angles.  The set design by Dick Bird is a fascinating one so over the next couple of week we should see some very interesting pieces being made.

The props department are also cracking on, tackling the vast amount of props for the opera.  As usual in props there are a lot of things going on at once and every time I walk through it’s all moved on three or four steps but here’s what I caught when I had my camera; the wig for Pinocchio being sculpted, masks in progress, puppets being sewn and drapes being measured…

Well as usual by the time I’ve written this and uploaded the photos the guys here in design realisation have moved onto something else so I’ll try to get more shots near the end of week.  Don’t go anywhere…

Categories: Opera, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Opera time…

It’s week four of the spring term which means just one thing…the opera has taken over the design realisation workshops!

The upcoming production of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro opens in a month’s time in our Silk Street Theatre with the fit-up starting just a week and a half away.  This means that all three of the design realisation workshops are focussing their attention on building and painting the scenery and props for what is bound to be another brilliant Guildhall School Opera. 

The props department is currently dominated by a series of 7 meter trees stretching through the space.  The  team have been sculpting and texturing polystyrene which has been fixed to large lengths of timber and painted to look like tree trunks.  The process is quite a long one with texture being applied and working into to create the bark effect.  Layers of paint give the trees more character and a mossy feel and some branches have been added to give the impression of realistic trees that stretch far beyond what the audience will see.  There are seven of these tree to make so the props team have their hands full as they also have several other props to make including a traditional Adirondack chair and a pair of gilded eagles which will adorn the tops of flagpoles.  It is fair to say that the props department are going to be busy for the next couple of weeks but as usual it’ll be interesting too.  I’ll be sure to get some photos!

In the paintshop the scenic art team have been working on one of the cloths for the Opera.  The basement cloth is painted to look like a wall of shutter concrete that has been cast in wooden moulds which has left a wood grained relief on the surface of the concrete.  This is an interesting process for the scenic artists as they are utilising their knowledge of woodgraining techniques but considering the different material for things like colour and texture.  Here are some photos of the cloth in progress where you can see how they have used dragging techniques and washes to achieve the finished result. 

Noises of grinders and metal cutters coupled with sparks of bright blue welcome us into the world of scenic construction.   The construction team are all currently clad in overalls, gloves and ear defenders at the moment as they are working primarily with steel building the scenery for the opera.  Third year Ceri and second year design realisation student Jenny have been welding ceiling pieces for the set.  As the frames are longer than a length of steel, Ceri welded extension pieces onto the end of the box section (with the use of a fancy jig for holding all the elements straight and square) which form the sides of the frames for the ceiling, which Jenny and Ceri have been welding today.  Here are some photos of the girls welding…I do love a welding photo, can you guess?

It’ll be a fast-paced week this week with lots of interesting makes so stay tuned for updates on how the opera is panning out!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.

STAGE MANAGEMENT

at Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Guildhall Theatre Technology Blog

Theatre Technology pathway blog at Guildhall School

propmakingdotcom

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama's Prop Making Weblog

Armadillo Artifacts

Relics and curios.

Design Realisation (Scenic Art, Scenic Construction and Prop Making)

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

%d bloggers like this: