Going Visiting

This term our first year students have visited a variety of theatres, prop houses and museums as part of their studies.

The first visit of the term was to Farley Prop Hire. Farley’s have over 50,000 items of antique furniture, props and accessories that can be hired by theatre, film and TV productions. They’re made up of 4 departments, each of which has a specialism – whether that’s lighting, art works, silverware – the list goes on! The first year students were very impressed with the long list of well know films and TV programmes that Farley’s have hired to over the years! For more information, you can view their website here.

The students also had a backstage tour at Aladdin, which is in the Prince Edward Theatre. They went to see the production the week before the visit. Then we went to the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising to look through their time tunnel and collections – they’re a great resource for props research! You can’t take pictures inside the Brand Museum, but we sat in their lovely garden area to discuss the exhibits.

The next visit was to the National Theatre’s Props and Costume hire departments – furniture from the National’s stock is on hire to our production Saturday, Sunday, Monday and we work with the hire departments at the National a lot.

Next up was the English National Opera at the London Coliseum. We spoke to Phillip, Stage Manager, and Ben, DSM, from the ENO’s stage management department about how stage management works at the ENO. Ben is a Guildhall grad who left us last July, so the students were able to ask him questions about how the training they’re currently receiving is useful to him in his professional life. We then had a backstage tour of the Coliseum, where the crew were setting up for their evening production of La Boheme.

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ENO Visit

We have also been on backstage visits at the Royal Opera House and the National Theatre. At the Royal Opera House, we were shown how their moving floor onstage works to help them turn shows around quickly and Senior Stage Manager (Opera) Simon talked about Opera as a career choice and how the Opera House puts on their productions. At the National, we saw the Olivier and Lyttleton Theatres, as well as the backstage workshop areas and dressing room block.

We ended our visit at the National by meeting with Janice Hayes, who is Deputy Company Manager. She answered lots of questions about working at the National and Stage Management in general.

Thank you to all companies who have hosted our visits this term!

Autumn Opera Scenes

Props Spread

Props Spread

The first Opera Scenes production for this academic year ends its run in the Milton Court Studio this evening. These productions are informal performances of extracts from several different operas – this one includes scenes from Don Pasquale, Fidelio, Written on Skin, La Boheme, Le Nozze di Figaro and Rinaldo, amongst others.

The singers are accompanied by a repetiteur on piano, led by Music Director Elizabeth Rowe. Martin Lloyd-Evans has directed, with Adam Torrance, who is a fellow on the Opera Course, taking on the role of Assistant Director. The set has been designed by Alexandra Kharibian and costume by Lydia Comer Narroway, a third year Costume student. Lighting design is by Natasha Holdaway, who is a third year Stage Management student. This production is also Natasha’s graduation project.

The production has six in its Stage Management team, Lauren (SM), Abi (DSM), Jenn, Tabitha, Colin and Ellen (ASM’s). Jenn and Tabitha went to pick up a school desk bought on eBay for the production and had to wait for their collection, so they took some photos with the desk on the street while they waited, it also proved very popular as a work station for Saturday, Sunday, Monday ASM Tom!

The set for the production features a tree that is built entirely out of chairs, with items from our props store hanging in amongst the chairs.

Abi's view from the box

ASM, Tabitha, is an elective student who has joined us for this production from Design Realisation. Having done Stage Management as one of her Associated Studies last year, Tabitha was then able to take on an ASM role in her second year. She describes her experience on Opera Scenes as “I’ve had such a fun and crazy time the last six weeks and it has been a big challenge learning new skills such as reading music and working with new departments!  There’s been lots of hard moments but so fun to be a part of a team running a show each day! Chairs (many many chairs), hessian, babies and a lobster sum it up somehow!! Thanks to all the SM and technical teams and fab cast on opera scenes! :)”


Tabitha’s photo that sums up her time on Opera Scenes