Summer Term: Dates for the Diary

It’s summer term already? Doesn’t seem 2 minutes since we came back from Christmas break!


Graduate Exhibition 2018

Here’s some dates for your diaries and things the students will be up to this term.

April: term kicks off with another round of Associated Studies for our first years. Rehearsals will begin for this years Opera Double Bill, which this year will comprise of Aminta e Fillide by George Frideric Handel and Venus and Adonis by John Blow. Students will also be working on Shakespeare Projects with the second year Acting class and the Summer Projects.

May: this month is all about rehearsals, sessions will begin for the musical and Opera Makers.

June: a busy month! Opera Double Bill opens in the Milton Court Theatre on Monday 3rd. Our Graduate Exhibition takes place this month – an opportunity to meet the third year Production Arts class and see a selection of their work from their time with us, this will take place in Milton Court and will be open to the public on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th. It’s also the Production Arts Department Open Day on Thursday 6th – go here for more information and to book your place, the day will feature talks and information on all programmes and pathways within the Department, not just Stage Management! The Production Arts team will also be at the ABTT trade show at Alexandra Palace on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th June.

July: this year’s musical is Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, this will open in the Silk Street Theatre on Tuesday 2nd. Close on its heels is Opera Makers, opening in the Milton Court Studio on Wednesday 3rd. We’ll also be running a range of summer schools during July, these take place across the Production Arts, Music and Drama departments throughout the month. Interested? More information can be found here.


Throughout the year, the Museum of London is showing an immersive tour through London’s history, narrated by the animals who have lived here and shaped the capital’s history. The project was inspired by objects in the Museum’s collection and has been created in partnership with Guildhall, it’s an interactive, digital installation that uses video projection mapping created by staff and students from the BA Video Design for Live Performance programme. It has also been supported by staff and students from other Production Arts programmes, along with voice work from the Acting Department and creation of the musical soundtrack by the Music Department. Tickets can be booked here.


Spring Term Round Up

We’re nearly at the end of spring term for this year – and what a term it’s been! For our first years we’ve had their first round of Associated Studies, working on the Group Project and then back into classes or crewing on this terms opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In Stage Management classes we’ve been learning about marking up rehearsal rooms…

…cueing to music…


…markets and where’s good to go out and buy props from in the Market Activity.

You can see a video that one of the teams made while looking around their markets here.

The students have also been learning DSM skills such as blocking and prompting, as well as skills from other departments such as Dyeing and Breaking Down with Costume…

…upholstery with Props…

…and Voice and Movement classes with the Acting Department.

The students have also been working on their Photoshop Projects, for this the students are allocated one newspaper/magazine and one item of packaging/label from a specific year and asked to recreate it using Photoshop. You can see some examples below.

Group B also crewed this term’s opera – Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This production involved lots of trap doors, so the team were kept busy helping with the fit up, below stage working with the traps and up on the fly floor, amongst other jobs.


Open Day

Last chance to join us for our Whole School Open Day this coming Sunday 24th March.

Guildhall will be open between 10am and 4pm. The day will feature information about all undergraduate programmes that we offer – including BA Production Arts (Stage Management, Costume, Design Realisation or Theatre Technology pathways) and BA Video Design for Live Performance, information will also be available on BMus programmes, BA Acting and BA Performance and Creative Enterprise.

Go here to book your place on this Open Day.


Production Management

In January we posted a blog about third year Stage Management student Tash Holdaway’s experience of designing the lighting for Autumn Opera Scenes for her Graduation Project. This term, Tash has been working as the Production Manager for our new writing production, Towers.

Tash is on a one-woman mission this year to work in as wide a variety of departments as possible, so that she can gain a range of different experiences – in addition to PM on Towers and Lighting Designer for Autumn Opera Scenes, Tash was also DSM for Mercury Fur and will Stage Manage next terms Opera Double Bill. She is currently on her work placement at the Almeida Theatre.


Tash had this to say about her Production Management allocation:

“For my final year at Guildhall, I wanted to gain as much experience in a variety of departments. This led me to become Production Manager on Towers, a devised piece created by the director, Ameera Conrad, and the company. Throughout, this process was incredibly valuable to my future and threw up a lot of different scenarios due to the nature of the piece. At the start of the allocation, I had a clear vision on where we would take the set, designed by Susannah Henry. Although a seemingly simple set from the outside, there were many intricacies along the way. Not only did I learn a lot through cross department learning and learning from my peers, I was able to learn a lot from the process in the rehearsal room. As the Production Manager, I kept in contact with the Stage Management team and had various catch up discussions with Ameera to see how they were getting along. Not only has the show given me better technical knowledge, I now have a clear picture on how the rest of the departments work alongside my role”.

Whole School Undergraduate Open Day

Booking is now open for our Whole School Open Day on Sunday 24th March, from 10am to 4pm. This is for all undergraduate programmes at the school.

This is an opportunity to visit the school and have a look at all of the undergraduate programmes on offer – as well as BA Production Arts (Stage Management, Costume, Design Realisation or Theatre Technology pathways) and BA Video Design for Live Performance, information will also be available on BMus programmes, BA Acting and BA Performance and Creative Enterprise.

There will be staff and current students on hand to answer questions about the programmes and all aspects of student life, including accommodation and funding. There will also be demonstrations, talks, workshops and performances throughout the day for you to drop in to.

Go here to book your place on this Open Day. We’re looking forward to meeting people there!

Group Presentations 2019

Today’s the day that the first year’s show their Group Presentations. This involves all of the Production Arts department first year students from all pathways to work together to present work on a common theme. This year the theme is The Seasons.


We started with Spring. Their stimulus was the painting A Breath of Spring by Zou FuLei and I Am the Resurrection by The Stone Roses. This team had made T-shirts for their team members with Spring It On stenciled on the back.


Then we moved to Summer and the memories of a New York Police Officer of when he was a boy in the 1960’s. They’d put together a story that was based on their stimulus – a photograph of a fire hydrant being set off in 1960’s American summer and Heatwave and Dancing in the Street by Martha and the Vandella’s.

The Summer team also took us to a 60’s jazz bar on a hot summer’s evening…


For Autumn we looked at all the different things that happen during the season – bonfires, pumpkins, Halloween and Remembrance Day. Their stimulus was the painting Autumn Leaves by John Everett Millais and the music The Autumn Stone by The Small Faces.


The final group showed us Winter – inspired by J.M.W Turner’s Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth and Endtroducing by DJ Shadow. We went onto the deck of a boat and were treated to the interactive element of sea spray and indoor snow!


Well done to all four groups!

Spring Associated Studies

It’s that time of year when first year students across the Production Arts department have been taking classes within another pathway! Here’s a snapshot of what everybody’s been getting up to in Associated Studies.

…in Automation

Stage Managers are a multi talented bunch, turns out that our current first years can also dance! And make giant cardboard cut outs of Shrek’s gingerbread friend to fly.

…in Production Management

Building the tallest possible tower from sellotape and paper in just 5 minutes.

…in Costume

How many items of clothing can you make from one plain white shirt? The students came up with a dress, crop top, skirt, lots of different styles of shirt and even a bonnet!

…in Stage Management

We’ve had a lovely week with Theatre Technology and Costume students, learning some Stage Management skills and exploring how we work as a department. The first skill was making fake food – the students made a fake food feast, we were treated to lasagne, meatloaf, fish fingers, scone and jam, chocolate cake and all sorts of other goodies.

sm food - tuesday 4

Other skills covered this week included introductions to marking up, cueing to music, Photoshop and visits to the Guildhall Stores and Farley Prop Hire to learn where props can come from. We’ve also had a go at making some fake alcoholic drinks.

The week came to an end with the Great Smash Up, where the students paired up to create a three course meal and drink, along with a menu so they could demonstrate the making and Photoshop skills they’ve learnt this week. This presentation was a competition, with each visitor being invited to vote and chocolates (real not Smash) for the winners. We were treated to the following:

Spoons Snacks (Matt and Finlay) presented basic balls, 248V burger and a brownie, alongside a Xmas Quiz Half Pint. This restaurant featured the faces of Lighting Lecturers Jon and Nick, although we’re not sure if they endorse it. The gentlemen received 4 votes and came in 4th place.

Big Daddy’s (presented by Nat and Anna) served dough balls with a garlic glaze (complete with a burnt bottom to the dough balls!), hot dog and chilli loaded fries, a shake and whiskey. They received 5 votes and came 3rd.

Kabab Shabab frontmen Sami and Tom presented lentil soup, a kebab wrap, caramel kunafa and a drink. They received 9 votes and came 2nd.

The winning pair, Sam and Eilidh, showcased their restaurant Graham’s by serving butternut squash soup and homemade pollock fishcakes. There was also a choice of desserts – selection of sorbet or Chef Sam’s Special Chocolate Fudge Cake, washed down with a tequila sunrise cocktail. They received 10 votes – well done!


All in all, a very enjoyable 2 weeks of Associated Studies, the next set will take place in the first weeks of the summer term.

Graduation Project: Lighting Design

As part of their third year studies, each student in the Production Arts department completes a Graduation Project. This can take the form of a written dissertation, a production folder or a creative project – the choice is entirely up to the student! Students also choose the content of the project themselves, in the past we’ve had model boxes, TV recording events, apothecary cabinets, escape room events, Alice’s tea party and all sorts of other wonderful projects.

Before Christmas, third year Stage Management student Tash Holdaway undertook the lighting design for the Autumn Opera Scenes production as her Graduation Project. She had this to say about her experience:


Autumn Opera Scenes, photo credit Matthew Ferguson

As part of our final year at Guildhall, we have to complete a graduation project than can be anything you want it to be! For mine, I chose to develop some skills that I learnt in 2nd year and was the lighting designer for Autumn Opera Scenes.

Throughout this, I learnt a huge amount about lighting and the creative process behind a design. As Opera Scenes is a collection of scenes it gave me the challenge of creating 11 different lighting states along with being able to use some specials such as pendants.

This was a huge challenge for me but it was one of the most rewarding things I have done, seeing my creative ideas come to life. Although there were many obstacles along the way, I was able to take away so much from it“.

Photo credit: Tash Holdaway

Back to School

And we’re back! Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday and happy new year to everyone.

Milton Court

Lots going on this term, as usual:

January: rehearsals are already under way for our Rep season which will be performed in the Milton Court Theatre, this years productions for the season are Fury and Detroit. Rehearsals have also started for our devised piece, Towers. In classes, our first years are busy with Associated Studies, look out for further posts about them trying out other pathways and learning new skills in Design Realisation, Video, Costume or Theatre Technology. Straight after Associated Studies, the first year will move on to the Group Project – last year we were invited into a den of mythical monsters in the Tech Lab, what will be this years theme?

February: Detroit and Fury will open in the Milton Court Theatre, Fury on the 1st and Detroit on the 4th. Towers will then open in the Milton Court Studio on Monday 11th. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will open in the Silk Street Theatre on Monday 25th. The first years will show off their Group Projects on Friday 1st, then it’s back into lessons for everyone and crewing the opera for Group B, as well as working on the Whole School Project at the end of the month.

March: this is interview time in the Stage Management department for next academic year’s students – good luck to all who are coming for interviews! The showing’s for the second year actors Musical Theatre Project will take place this month, supported by Stage Management students. This terms Opera Scenes production will open in the Milton Court Studio on Wednesday 20th, with Orestes opening in the Silk Street Theatre on Friday 22nd. We will be having a Whole School Undergraduate Open Day on Sunday 24th March, which takes place just before World Theatre Day on Wednesday 27th. Term will end for Easter on Friday 29th for everyone to have a well deserved rest!