First Year Visits

Over the last week, the first year Stage Management students have been on backstage visits to the National Theatre and English National Opera and a visit to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising.

At the National we were shown around all three theatre spaces, plus backstage areas such as the scenery workshop, the paint frame and the props workshop. We also went to some of the free exhibition and education spaces and had a look at a props table of items from previous National productions. We also saw one of the Warhorse puppets, but we weren’t allowed to take photos of that.

Then we visited ENO at the Coliseum and met with the Stage Manager and 2 ASM’s. We watched a fit up happening onstage whilst the Stage Manager told us all about ENO and how they work. Then we went up to the fly floor and down to the pit rail.

The Museum of Brands does not allow photographs within their time tunnel. It’s an absolute dream afternoon for nostalgic people! They have packaging, newspapers, magazines and historical items and documents from the 1900’s to the present day. They also have a hall with different versions of packaging through the decades – for example one display is all of the different OXO cube packets from 1900 to the present day, along with Persil, Tate and Lyle sugar, Scholl foot powder and loads more. A really useful resource for propping.

Props Acquisition Project 2017

Each year the first year Stage Management students are given a playwright and asked to choose one of their plays. They then do a range of activities based on that play, one of which is the props acquisition project. This is their first major independent project at Guildhall and must be backed up by research into their play’s time period.

They must put together a props list from the play, then source a selection of these items. They must show a variety of sourcing skills which include finding the items in our Guildhall props stores, buying, hiring, making and borrowing. As part of buying, they can also practice haggling with sellers if they think the price being asked for is too high.

Here are some photographs from this years presentations.


Tom presented props from Noises Off by Michael Frayn


Sophie presented props from All My Sons by Arthur Miller


Hope presented props from Blood Brothers by Willy Russell


Emily presented props from Flare Path by Terence Rattigan


Ellen presented props from A Trip to Scarborough by RB Sheridan


Colin presented props from Play Without a Title by Frederico Garcia Lorca


Eli presented props from Living Quarters by Brian Friel


Luke presented props from That Face by Polly Stenham


Jenn presented props from A Lesson from Aloes by Athol Fugard


Georgia presented props from Art by Wasmin Reza

Autumn Opera Scenes


Our Autumn Opera Scenes opens today in the Milton Court Studio. The Opera Scenes is an informal performance in a workshop setting, it has a piano accompaniment and is performed by opera singers and repetiteurs who are on the first year of the Opera Course. This terms Scenes are being directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans, conducted by Dominic Wheeler and designed by Gregor Donnelly.

Here are some photographs from the teams props spread last week.

One of the more interesting items to find for this project has been a stainless steel morgue trolley – the Props Supervisor searched high and low for the cheapest possibility, approaching caterers, props hire houses, hospitals and even funeral directors. Once the productions budget was finalised, the team could hire one from Film Medical, but it was an interesting process for finding props and furniture from unlikely sources.

Love Theatre Day


Today is Love Theatre Day 2017. This year, the day is being run in association with The Stage newspaper to make sure as many people join in as possible, including theatres, productions, theatre organisations, individuals – anyone who makes or watches theatre. The aim of the day is to celebrate theatre all around the world on social media, using three themes:

  1. Backstage
  2. Ask a Theatre
  3. Showtime

To find out more about the themes and how to get involved, go to  you can also use #LoveTheatreDay to share on social media.

From The Stage’s page, the organisers “hope to inspire people to find out more about their local theatre, consider a career in the arts, and to build a lifelong habit of going to the theatre”. Obviously the consideration of a career in the arts is something we’re very keen on at Guildhall too!

Around the stage management department this last week, there’s been a definite props theme – we’ve had the props spreads for both Post Mortem and Opera Scenes, visits to the National Theatre Props and Costume Stores with the first years and the beginning of the 2017 tidy up of our on site props store.

First year student visit to The National Theatre’s Props and Costume Stores with the lovely Manuela, Costume Technician


Autumn Opera Scenes Props Spread


Post Mortem Props Spread (you can see more photos from this below)


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The clear out begins…


In the spirit of #LoveTheatreDay, if you have any questions about studying at Guildhall, stage management or theatre in general – let us know! We are on twitter @GuildhallSM and Instagram as GuildhallStageManagement, or leave us a comment on here.

Post Mortem Props Spread

Today was the Props Spread for Post Mortem. The Stage Management team and Props Supervisor have been propping a mix of World War I trenches and 1930’s items, you can see some photos below.

downloadHere are the Stage Management team – nearly ready for technical rehearsals.

Some of the paper props that have been made for the production, labels, newspapers, magazines, cigarette packets, telegrams – the list goes on.

Props Spread 14

Trench food… tasty…

And some other examples of the props and furniture sourced for the production.


Post Mortem opens in the Milton Court Theatre on Thursday 23rd November. It is being directed by Lucy Bailey and designed by William Dudley, with lighting design by Chris Davey.

Captioning Awareness Week

This week is Captioning Awareness Week, which is organised by Stagetext. Captioning makes theatre accessible to deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people, which is something we’re keen to work on here at Guildhall. Last year, one of our Stage Management students captioned our production of ‘Great Expectations’ and as part of our production of ‘The Cherry Orchard’ earlier this term, third year Stage Management student Ben Cook worked on audio description and a touch tour for the performance for his grad project.

A touch tour is part of the theatre experience for blind or partially sighted theatre goers. It provides access to the stage, props and costume before the performance, so that people can explore the space and be provided with extra details about the elements of the production. Audio description is a narrator talking through the production through a headset, describing what is happening onstage to those who are blind or partially sighted.

Stagetext are a charity providing captioning to theatres and arts venues to help make the performing arts accessible and improve access to people who are deaf, deafened or hard of hearing. To read more about their work and see how you can get involved, go to

One way that you can get involved in Captioning Awareness Week is to upload the following image to social media, with your reason why you’re a Captioning Hero in the box. More information on ways to get involved are at or using #CAPaware17


Technical Theatre Open Day


Tomorrow is our Technical Theatre Open Day at the school. If you want to come along, you can book a place here

The Open Day will have a range of activities and events throughout the day, with members of staff and current students. There will be tours of the theatres and workshops at the school, drop in sessions to cover all aspects of the programmes within Technical Theatre and a range of information available on things like finance and student life.