Posts Tagged With: Treads

It must be musical time…

Now that this term’s opera Owen Wingrave has opened, the design realisation department have turned all their attention to this year’s musical which takes place at the end of our summer term.  This year, the musical is Rags and as you’d expect from a Guildhall School musical, it’s going to be quite spectacle!

The whole of the technical theatre department have their work cut out for them over the next couple of weeks and for the design realisation team, this means building and painting all of the scenery and props.  As you’d expect, the department are working full-on realising Susannah Henry’s design.  Here’s just a snippet of what’s been going on in the scenic workshop and the paintshop…

The construction team have been ‘stepping up’ (couldn’t resist!) their game this week building a series of treads for the musical.  There are 6 full sets of treads on stage, three pairs of various sizes which have been expertly constructed by the team with a woodgrain finish added by the scenic art department.  They also have a stone-like effect  which creeps up the treads; added after the woodgrain.  Here are some shots of the treads being made and painted…

Another element of the set that has been made and painted this week is the Yiddish Proscenium.  As you can see from the pictures, the pros is a dusky pink with ornate gold detail added.  The whole thing is aged with some dirty washes and a dark spray which really gives it some character.  This piece of scenery is a real collaborated effort from the design realisation department as the proscenium itself has been built by the construction team and painted by the scenic artists with the swags being made by the props department.  I’ll be sure to get some shots of the finished set piece during fit-up next week.

The scenic art team have also been busy working on one of the cloths for the musical.  The huge New York skyline cloth has an interesting brick effect around the edge which you can see has been started here.  One of the challenges of this cloth which makes it different to many of the cloths we paint here at the Guildhall School is that it has to be backlit.  Because of this, we are using a filled cloth which is left unprimed.  This means that we can build up several layers of paint on the areas of the cloth that needs to be more opaque and use thinner washes of colour for the sky which will need to be more translucent so that when lit from behind, the light can shine through.  The cloth has been split into grids to allow the team to easily pinpoint which part of the reference they are working on, which is standard practice for a cloth such as this.  The skyline itself has been projected onto the cloth to get the outline, which will then have the details such as the windows drawn in later.  Here is where we are up to…

Well I think you’ll agree that we have been busy this last week.  Next week is going to be even busier; there’s plenty more set to build and paint before the fit-up starts, plus we start another cloth on the paintframe this week; the harlequin cloth so I’ll be sure to get some more photos of both cloths taking shape.  Some very interesting props are being made in the props department too; there are some carts, flags and a gramophone for the musical, as well as a defibrillator for Opera Scenes.  Photos to follow…get ready for a 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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Treads, marble, moulds, welding and more…

It’s the end of week two: snow is starting to fall outside whilst the design realisation workshops hum and buz with the sound of machinery and people.  All three departments have had a busy week this week, working on different shows and utilising a range of skills. 

The props workshop has been a hive of activity this week.  A selection of first year students on Associated Studies have been introduced to the world of prop making, trying their hands at a huge range of processes including basic woodworking skills, sculpting, mould making, casting and paint effects.  Meanwhile, the rest of the props department (Lai, Tara and Lisa) have been juggling work on several shows.  They’ve been making furniture for the upcoming production of A Respectable Wedding which will be at the Bridewell Theatre http://www.barbican.org.uk/theatre/event-detail.asp?ID=14250 as well as starting work on the many props needed for this term’s Opera Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart which opens at the end of February.  It’s nice to see the workshop full of people ranging from first year students sampling prop making through to third year Lai honing her prop making skills in her final props allocation at the Guildhall School.  I was especially excited to see one of our second year design realisation students tucked away in the clean area of props which is reserved primarily for sewing or ‘cleaner’ prop making work.  Tara was working on some cushion covers and was surrounded by books, materials and old props from previous productions…It took me a minute or two to spot her in our very own Aladdin’s cave!

The scenic art team have been busy painting the rest of the floor for Twelfth Night which will be laid on Monday.  They’re moved on to the darker of the two marbles now which is a nice rich terracotta colour.  The process is slightly longer than the creamier marble as this version gets several washes applied after the puddling has dried to ‘flatten’ the marble and take out some of the contrast between the darker orange tone and the lighter base colour.  The finished tiles look really nice and I’m excited to see what the floor look like when it’s been laid in the theatre…I’ll make sure I get a picture or two next week.

In the construction department (as well as having the new wall saw delivered yesterday!) the team have been working hard on the opera production.  They have started welding some steel frames which will make up the side walls of a large truck section of scenery.  The use of a jig means that each piece of wall is exactly the same and helps to hold the metal in place so that they can easily be ‘tacked’ and then welded.  It also speeds up the whole process as it means that only the first section needs to be measured and squared up. 

Along with the welding, the construction team have been working on some treads for the opera too.  These are just a basic set of get-off treads which will be used backstage but as with most things in design realisation, it’s all about learning a process.  These simple treads are made in the same was as more elaborate staircases; the principles are the same.  Now that the construction team have mastered the skill of making treads…it’s onwards and upwards…litterally! 

Prepare for a busy one next week as all three departments begin concentrating on building and painting the props and scenery for this term’s Opera Le nozze di Figaro by Mozart…

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