3rd Year Graduation Projects: Ubu Roi & Up-Cycle Wedding Dress

Last week at Guildhall two of our 3rd year Stage and Costume Management Students presented their graduation projects. Students have allocated time in which to complete their projects, which can be almost anything they choose, from a written dissertation to a full on production. The time allocated can fall anywhere in the academic year, so as to work around their show allocations and 3rd year professional placement.

Emily Philpott presented her model box for the Cheek By Jowl production of Ubu Roi. Originally there was no model box created for this production, which is unusual in the industry, so Emily decided to create one. Emily tells us she’s become very familiar with the techniques used for model making, especially when it comes to glue. Here’s what Emily made.

Emily Appleton wanted to do a costume project, and she was interested in taking something that was only used once and transforming it into something you could re-use again and again. Emily settled on the idea of taking a Wedding Dress, traditionally only worn once, and transforming it into something completely different but still beautiful. Emily wanted to use her project to demonstrate all the costuming skills she has developed during her time at Guildhall, and you can see the results below.

Very impressive work by both. Well done ladies!

August ends in October


14671367_10154026382506365_5411874618302401032_n1Today we closed our production of ‘August’ in the Milton Court Studio Theatre directed by Wyn Jones. The play is based on Anton Chekov’s ‘Uncle Vanya,’ but set in late 19th Centaury Wales. Our Stage Management students that work on our productions are required to manage a production through the first pre-production meetings, to the first day of rehearsals, and then through to the last day of the strike.

Before a production moves into technical rehearsals in the theatre space, we here at Guildhall set up a “Props Spread.” This is an opportunity to show the director and designer everything they have sourced and made for the production, and to make sure that everyone is happy with what is going to be on stage.

During Technical Rehearsals the Stage Management team work hard to bring all the technical elements of a show together cohesively. The ASM’s carry out specifically timed cues & manage the cast and props, the DSM co-ordinates all the cues via the prompt desk, and the Stage Manager runs the whole technical rehearsal process.

Then, after all the technical rehearsals are complete, and all the cues have been decided, we begin Dress Rehearsals and the Performances. Then, after all the technical rehearsals are complete, and all the cues have been decided, we begin Dress Rehearsals and the Performances. Here are some shots of the team setting up for the first performance:

And then all too soon Strike Day comes along. On this day the Stage Management team return all props, tidy the Running Rooms, and make sure that all the loose ends are tied up. Then its on to the next one! Well done team!



Placement at Scottish Ballet


Productions are in full swing here at Guildhall. August is opening tonight In the Milton Court Studio Theatre, Mavra and Iolanthe are deep into rehearsals, and The Crucible is in to technical rehearsals in the Milton Court Theatre, which is being Stage Managed by 3rd Year Stage Management student Robyn Cross. Robyn was lucky enough to have a placement in the Stage Management Department of Scottish Ballet over the summer break. So before she becomes too caught up in tech to talk to me, I grabbed her to talk a little bit about what she got up to while she was there.


Guildhall SM: So tell us Robyn, what did you do while at Scottish Ballet? How long was the placement?

Robyn: Well, I was there for three weeks in total. The production I worked on was shown as two, 1 act pieces with an interval in between. The first was Called MC14/22, and the second was called Emergence. MC14/22 was inspired by St. Mark’s version of The Last Supper in the Bible, and Emergence was inspired by the idea of swarm intelligence, like in a colony of insects. But for the first week, during rehearsals, I spent a lot of time trying to source silent parcel tape! One of the dancers needed to be restrained by tape but it had to make absolutely no noise so I spent a long time sampling different tapes and testing how loud they were, making notes about it and trying to find the perfect one.  Not exactly what I expected to be doing but I found a good one in the end.

GSM: Who knew it would be so difficult to find the right type of tape? Any other unusual things you had to deal with?

R: Oh I got to make mud. It had to be a really specific consistency too. So in the second week we moved to the Glasgow Theatre to tech, dress and open the show, and at one point one of the dancers needs to have mud run down his face, but it needed to slowly drip down and not poor. So a good amount of my time was spent mixing up different mud thicknesses out of compost so that it was thick enough to cling to his skin, but still watery enough to drip down over time. Every day was a bit of a challenge. It mostly worked!

GSM: And how long did it run for?

R: Only a couple of weeks. We were in the Glasgow Theatre royal for the week, and then we moved on to the Edinburgh Festival for the third and final week. It was good fun, I’m looking forward to going back.

GSM: Going back?

R: Yeah. After the Crucible closes they’re having me back for another placement starting on the 1st November. I can’t wait to see what they’ll get me doing this time.

GSM: Thanks for chatting with me Robyn, well done and I’ll let you get back to the Crucible. We all hope you have a great time at the Scottish Ballet in November.



Lets Photoshop!

Last week the first year Stage Management students got the opportunity to show off their creativity and learn new skills by creating newspapers and treasure maps in Photoshop.

See below for some of their excellent work.

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Well done guys!


A New Start

We’re back into the swing of a new academic year her at Guildhall. We’ve got twelve brand new keen and eager first year Stage Management students and in their first few weeks they’ve had a lot to take in. I asked Natasha Holdaway to give us an insight to what these first weeks have been like for her.


Natasha Holdaway – 1st Year Stage Management Student


“Before moving to Guildhall, I didn’t quite know what to expect. However, I’ve found the transition into Uni life easier than I could have ever imagined.

Over the next 3 years at Guildhall I’ll be studying stage management. Before Guildhall, my main experience of the theatre was through my school where I helped with every production and in my last few years at the school I became Student Director and/or Stage Manager on book for the productions. I had also had work experience at the English Touring Theatre, watching rehearsals and searching for props. The other experience I had had of stage management was the Labyrinth project at the Almeida theatre which involved 5 groups producing a 20 minute performance that was performed twice on the Almeida stage to a paying audience.

I didn’t know what the application process would be like, neither did my university advisor at my school. In the end, I applied to 6 different universities and theatre schools however after visiting Guildhall on an open day, I knew it was where I wanted to study.  Guildhall interview was my last one and therefore the last school I heard back from regarding an offer. At the time, I had an offer from each establishment but Guildhall is where I wanted to go. Once I received my offer from Gill [Allen – Head of Stage and Costume Management], I couldn’t wait to get started in a place where everyone has the same passion for the arts as I do.

During my first week, I met so many people through the various fresher’s events at the Basement (yes I went to all of them). For all of us on the TTA courses, the first week involved very different sessions including introductions to the different pathways and a treasure hunt around the 2 buildings and the Barbican. For the second week, we then spent time completing lessons on manual handling, flying, electrics, production management and first aid. One beneficial factor of the first two weeks was the fact that we were put into groups that included people from all the different pathways. This meant that we were all able to get to know everyone a lot quicker.

Now that we are in the third week of our time at Guildhall, we have been split into our pathways to begin are specific training. Although we are now in our pathway groups, I know that there is a strong connection between all of the pathways due to the first two weeks. As we start our main training at Guildhall, I know time will fly past but there’s no better place than in the centre of London where there is an endless amount of things to do.”