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!