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.
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!