Q: Tell us more about your role at City Lit?
A: I run the Stage Management and Technical Theatre course at City Lit. It’s a great opportunity for students at all levels to gain valuable experience within the backstage world!
The main focus being; stage management, theatre lighting (programming and operating) and live/recorded sound. Students choose their pathway and after the core taught sessions they then then work ‘in role’ to support the rehearsals and production. Other elements can also include scenic designing, costumes, prop making and sound mixing.
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Q: Tell us more about the new production: Animal Farm?
A: Animal Farm (George Orwell) is a ‘fairy’ story containing political satire and very relevant historical context, where the animals shift social positions throughout which is excellently portrayed by the talented actors in the company. It’s great for our team, as the director, Vernon Thompson, asked for ‘noses/feathers/ears’ quite early on and so the pressure was on for our prop making department (Assistant Stage Manager and Set Designer) by week 2 of rehearsals. There’s also a windmill, a fence and an underlying sense of being on a farm. The team are working tirelessly to get the sound, lighting and set complete and it really has been a collaborative effort so far. The audience are in for a treat!
Q: What is your role in this project?
A: My role, before rehearsals start, include teaching the main elements in each department. Other sessions include; Health and Safety, Rigging, Technical Programming and standard operating procedures. We have some sessions in the classroom to cover the paperwork such as; biographies, The Book, ‘Calling the Show’ and managing a budget. When rehearsals start we have a meeting with the director where they can share their vision. It’s during this meeting where the creative planning starts. Students think of ideas to support the overall design and look of the production. During production week I step into the role of Production Manager. By the time we get to the technical rehearsal, students will be confident in their position and know what is expected from them. By then they have all created their checklists. My role is to observe, support and make sure that students have a positive learning experience.
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Q: What do you enjoy most about working at City Lit?
A: There are many things that I enjoy about working at City Lit. I really enjoy seeing the students at the end of the run. Their sense of achievement. It’s really nice to see everyone work together in such a positive way. As every show and director is different it’s really great to see the production unfold over the weeks. Of course there are challenges but it’s theatre. The Drama Department at City Lit is extremely supportive from the start and have been known to take an active role in production preparation (costume making and set painting and so much more) over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever worked in such a supportive environment.
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Q: Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
A: Enrol on the Stage Management and Technical Theatre course! The course is open to all ages and abilities and I guarantee you’ll have fun. You’ll be very busy – but it will be fun. Oh, and there will be jelly babies.