Skillful Students

As a Stage Manager, it’s useful to have a wide variety of skills and to know a little bit about all of the other backstage departments and what they’re working to achieve. With this in mind, we introduce the first year Stage Management students to as many of the other departments as possible and give them basic skills in each.

The Sound department have taught skills, like how to fit a microphone to a performer:

The Design Realisation department have given introductory sessions in Prop Making, Scenic Painting and Construction. The students have learnt various painting techniques on chairs in Scenic Painting and built wooden dogs with joints using various techniques in Construction.

One student had this to say about their experiences in the Design Realisation department: “In the Scenic Painting class, we were able to try out a range of scenic painting techniques, including colour matching, rusting and wood graining. It was really good fun to experiment and try out these techniques as a group. Then as a team in Construction we were able to create a wooden dog that allowed us to use a range of tools. I found it really exciting to learn how to use a jigsaw and it has helped me to work out what I would like to do for my Associated Studies”.

Marking up a rehearsal room is a key skill in Stage Management, obviously the whole set cannot be built for a rehearsal room, so you draw the ground plan of the set onto the rehearsal room floor for the actors to work out where important things like walls and doors are going to be! Once the team had finished practicing by marking out the set from The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, there was a crime committed in the room and they had to mark out a body too!

The students have been learning to follow and cue to music, ready for working on our opera productions. “I have really enjoyed cueing to music and as someone who can’t read music and has never studied music theory I feel I have really developed and learnt a lot” was a comment from one of our students.They also got to grips with using our prompt desks, as you can see below.

Students wanting to practice outside of the classroom came up with an ingenious solution to get around not having the prompt desk – they made a mock up out of Fruit Pastilles!

The students have also been learning basic costume skills – including getting to grips with sewing machines, overlockers and irons, as well as alteration skills.

Group A worked as crew for Cosi fan Tutte in the Silk Street Theatre. They had chance to learn lots of new skills over the course of their time on the production…

All in all, a very busy and successful first term at Guildhall for our first years!

Final Call for TheatreCraft 2018


Ladies and gentlemen, this is your final call to join us at the 2018 TheatreCraft event on Monday. This is a careers event for backstage disciplines and is being held at the Waldorf Hilton Hotel in London. It will be open between 9:30am and 4:30pm.

Guildhall staff and current students will be attending to talk to anyone who’s interested in the courses that we offer within the Production Arts department. These are BA Production Arts programme pathways (Stage Management, Theatre Technology, Costume and Design Realisation), BA Video Design for Live Performance and the MA in Collaborative Theatre Production and Design, as well as information on our Short Courses that run over the summer holidays.

We will be on stand 3 in the Palm Court area. There will be lots of other exhibitors and sessions going on throughout the day. Visit the TheatreCraft website for more information and to book your place.

Love Theatre Day 2018

Love Theatre DayToday is Love Theatre Day – a social media initiative that celebrates theatre all around the world, this includes theatres, productions, theatre organisations, individuals – anyone who makes or watches theatre!

To join in with Love Theatre Day, use the hashtag #LoveTheatreDay on social media sites, particularly Twitter.


#LoveTheatreDay also has several online themes as part of their schedule, these are:

  • #Backstage (10am to 12pm): go behind the scenes and see parts of the theatre you would never normally get to see.
  • #AskATheatre (3pm to 5pm): talk directly to the creative teams about their shows, and ask the questions you’ve always wanted to.
  • #Showtime (7pm to 10pm): show us what you’re seeing at the theatre, and find out what happens off stage during a show.

Check out our Instagram throughout today to see what we’re sharing to celebrate

Cosi fan Tutte

Our first opera production of this year is Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte. This evening is its final performance in the Silk Street Theatre. Our production has been conducted by Dominic Wheeler, directed by Oliver Platt, with set and costume designs by Neil Irish and lighting design by Rory Beaton.

Cosi rehearsals.jpg

Setting for rehearsals

The production’s stage management team is five strong, Mia (SM), May (DSM), Colin, May and Emily (ASM’s) with support from Props Supervisor, Chloe.

The production is set in a bar on a military base, so the team had to source lots of bottles, glassware and bar furniture – including a till.


The production also includes a full size pool table and a dartboard, along with helium balloons.

Good job guys!

Learning all about Props

The focus of a lot of our teaching on the Stage Management pathway within the autumn term of the first year is on props. Our first years have been learning lots of propping skills since September.

First up was a tour of all of our prop, furniture and costume stores within Guildhall. Then the students made blood bags and a range of letters, fake drinks, fake cigarettes and fake spliffs – the things we have to make for our art!

Once the blood bags were made, the students burst them…

… they also took classes on the basics of Photoshop and how it can be used in theatre for making props, looking at a range of paper props, including newspapers, magazines, ID documents, book covers – the list can be endless! Then there was a visit to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising to look at items going back to the 19th Century that might crop up on a props list.

The students have also visited Farley Hire and the National Theatre’s Props and Costume stores – you will be able to read all about the visits we’ve been on in a later blog post.

The outcomes of these classes will be the Props Presentation Project and the Photoshop Project – watch out for blog posts about these early next term!