Posts Tagged With: Three Sisters

Three weeks in and it’s all go…

It’s the end of week 3 of the Autumn term now and anyone would think we’d been back for months; the design realisation workshops are buzzing with people and machinery and props and scenery are being churned out a fast pace ready for this term’s productions.

This term is very special because the first two shows that open are presented in our brand new Milton Court Theatre and Studio in our wonderful new building which had its official gala opening on the 26th of September.

Check out the specs of our new spaces here:

We’ve been working on the set for the production of Three Sisters, which will be presented in out Milton Court Theatre, for well over a year now so it is so good to finally see the set in all its glory, along with the painted backdrop and floor cloth, together in the theatre (pictures of the finished set on their way next week!.

Scenic Carpentry lecturer Edd has been working hard on some finishing touches to the set over the last few weeks; including working on the bi-fold doors making two trap doors that fit into the modular floor of the Milton Court stage…

As well as the Three Sisters, there’s The Seagull which will be presented in the Milton Court Studio; a wonderfully versatile space that beautifully contrasts the traditional feel of the Milton Court Theatre.

The scenic art team have been painting and glazing the floor of the studio as well as a platform that the production management team have made.  Here are some of the girls after another late paintcall, don’t worry, we left a path to leave the space without walking glaze through the new building!

The Seagull glazing in the new MC Studio

The props team have also been doing a lot of work for The Seagull.  Third year Tara is co-ordinating the props team for the first 6 weeks of term and along with second year Kim, is making two seagulls for the show.  Sophie is currently working on a series of masks for the production; here you can see how they’re getting on.


Of course the props team have more to do than just one show.  They are also working on props for the Three Sisters too.  Second year students James and Amy are making a lawn roller and a clock that breaks during the show.

It’s not just the productions in Milton Court that are keeping us busy, work is well under the way for this term’s opera which is a Debussy/Donizetti double bill:

The design for the double bill is a wonderfully creative interpretation of a clay tennis court designed by Yannis Thavoris.  The scenic construction and scenic art teams have been working hard getting the set built and painted over the last few weeks.  Let by third year Katie, the construction team have been laying the floor for the opera on our Silk Street stage and have been building and cladding the flattage ready to be painted.  There’s still a lot to do but it’s been non-stop for the construction team and they’ve certainly been powering through…

The scenic art team have also been working hard on the opera set, building up layers and layers of paint to achieve the clay tennis court finish.  The process is a long one that includes texturing the floor with idenen, then rollering different orange shades onto a peach background.  Next, the floor is layered up more and more colours by hand sponging them onto the rollered base, overlapping and blending the colours.  Then several sprayed layers are added, these provide depth and add to the chalky, clay-like feel of the floor.  It’s not just the main floor that has this finish, huge flats that will make up the main platform of the set have the same effect.  The process is a particularly long one but I think you’ll agree it looks very effective.

Another piece of scenic art work for the opera double bill is a wonderful large portrait that third year Jennie, the scenic art co-ordinator is working on..

As well as all of the production work taking place in the design realisation workshops, we have also welcomed our new first year students into the department too.  This week was the first time the first years were working in the workshops, taking part in their introduction lessons.  It was great to see our new students getting stuck into the practical work that will form so much of their time at the Guildhall School over the next couple of years.  They certainly seem to have been enjoying themselves and it was brilliant to have some extra help during some of the paint calls too!  Here they are during their first year lessons…

Well of course there is still so much work to do.  The workshops will be full of interesting set pieces and props being made for our upcoming productions and I will try to keep on top of taking photos and documenting the process…keep visiting and seeing what we are up to!

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

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!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Check out the Chekhov ceiling…

Well it’s here once again, another term is about to start and soon the design realisation workshops will be a hive of activity full of students and staff working hard on creating more amazing productions at the Guildhall School.  Whilst the majority of our technical theatre students have been away for the holidays (except the few that have been working on some exciting and collaborative projects across the school), the design realisation staff have been busy setting up ready for another busy term ahead.  The cogs have already started turning in the construction workshop this week, here’s what we have been up to…

Remember way back in November when the construction team began working on the ceiling section for the upcoming production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters which will be presented in our brand new Milton Court Theatre in the next academic year?  Well look at it now…

The ceiling is an ellipse shape which is made up of four sections in two different sizes.  Each section which was welded back in November has been painstakinly clad with layers of timber and MDF to match the panelling effect on the walls of the rest of the set.  This is the first time that all four sections of the ceiling have been put together.  Secure fixings have been welded in place and holes drilled in order to allow the pieces to be bolted together.  There is still a lot of work to be done making the ceiling piece ready for the production, among other things, the last quadrant needs the magic touch of the scenic art team to add the beautiful woodgrain effect.

It’s been a busy few weeks and I am sure that it’s going to get even busier.  We have some very exciting productions this term including a devised piece at the Bridewell Theatre, which is sure to be interesting, our opera Owen Wingrave in the Silk Street Theatre and of course this year’s musical…Rags!  Fasten your seat belts for 12 more fast paced weeks.

All we need now is a bunch of talented and eager students; roll on Monday…!

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Blog at


at Guildhall School of Music & Drama

Guildhall Theatre Technology Blog

Theatre Technology pathway blog at Guildhall School


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: