Jo sent me back her report on the work placement.
Jo sent me back her report on the work placement.
I sent Jo an email thanking her again for the work placement and asking her to give some feedback on how i did.
Friday and Saturday were reasonably successful. We had a bigger turnout than Thursdays show and other than a slight communication issue on Friday between the stage manager and myself, which resulted in the lights coming up a couple seconds too late for the curtain call, there were no technical problems during the shows.
Unfortunately I was unable to stay and help the group pack the set and leave the theatre after the show on Saturday as I had to catch a bus home, however I chatted with Jo before I left and she said she was please with how the week turned out, thanked me for helping them and offered to help out on any of my projects for college should I need it.
The group is putting on a show for the Fringe this year and it looks like I will probably be helping out on sound and lighting for that as well.
Thursday night was opening night. Technically everything went well but only 49 people turned up. Full venue capacity is 353. Despite this the show went well and Jo was pleased with how the sound and lighting went. Hopefully Friday and Saturday night will have a better turn out.
Wednesday the 3rd of May was the second technical rehearsal. As everything was set up the day before we didn’t need to arrive at the theatre until 6pm which was nice as I was feeling quite badly ill that day and had spent the morning in bed sick. I managed to make it to the theatre on time though and because Jo was happy with the lighting and sound I had done the previous night I didn’t need to change anything for the play itself and I just had to sit at the desks and operate the sound and lights. Although Jo asked if I could change the pre-show music to one that Martin brought with him, so i switched that into the laptop cues list and the backstage crew did ask if I could give them more light backstage during the intervals between acts as they were changing scenery, so I added in a couple more submasters to give me better control over backstage lighting. Radio communication between myself and the stage manager Andrew improved and I got better with the timings of the sound and lighting cues together so the second rehearsal went a lot smoother than the first both on and off stage.
On Tuesday the 2nd of May at 10 in the morning I met Andrew Hawdon, the stage manager, Mike Appleby, one of the actors in the play as well as the person that would be advising me on setting up the lights at the venue as he has experience doing the lights at the Churchill Theatre, along with some of the other back stage crew, at the Makars store rooms on Canongate where I help them load the van with all of the set flats and props. We then made our way to the theatre where I helped unload the van.
As most of the crew were putting up the set Mike and I met with one of the venue technicians Mark. As the last show at the Churchill was a choir group all of the lights needed adjusting to give an even coverage for the play. Mark would do most of the adjusting of the lights for the stage and show me how to use the desk while I then programmed the desk into the submasters we would need for the show and then create the cues. Mike was on hand to teach me more about lighting and sound for theatre as well as other theatre and stage termanology and typical set ups. i.e. the different types of curtains – tabs, travelers, legs – and how using too much white light is avoided as it tends to flatten everything so the lights pointing to stage right are usually cool while the ones pointing towards stage left are warm. Once I had finished the cues I checked with both Mike and Jo to make sure they were okay and once I had gotten there approval I saved the cues list onto the desk as well as a separate usb stick as back up.
I also help Mark set up and test the sound desk so that we could use the clubs laptop as the source. This just involved plugging the laptop into the 2 aux channels on the desk so all the sound could be controlled from the laptop. I had already programmed the sound cues for the show into the laptop so all I had to do was adjust the levels and pans to better match what was happening on stage and to make sure the loudness did not break and health and safety noise regulations.
Once this was all done and the set was ready we all had a break and went for something to eat. Afterwards the actors started to arrive and we went through a complete dress/technical rehearsal of the play. We managed to finished at 10pm as planned and at the end Jo said that she was pleased with how everything was turning out, I turned off the sound and lighting desks and we went home.
I started to become apparent that Giorgio, the person that was meant to be doing the sound operating for the show, wasn’t going to be doing it. The director Jo started to feel that he wasn’t doing what she asked and that he might not be committing himself to the project due to the fact that he hadn’t been turning up to any of the rehearsals. She forwarded the emails that she had been sending Giorgio to Martin and myself. I offered to take on the sound responsibilities as well as lighting if she wanted. She was reluctant as she felt it might be to much for me to handle but I assured her that since there are only a few sound cues and very little lighting cues, and because of my previous experience doing sound for them, that I could manage it.
Even though Giorgio had made some sound effects for the show, he hadn’t been to rehearsals so Jo hadn’t heard them and didn’t want to spent time during the technical rehearsal changing them if she wasn’t happy with what Giorgio had done, so when I ask her at the final rehearsal if she wanted me to cover sound as well, she agreed that it was probably best at this point that I do both.
I went to rehearsals and watched the play. I had a chat with Jo afterwards asking what kind of lighting design she wanted. She said that there wasn’t really any light cues she wanted during acts 1 and 2. It was just fading up and blacking out at the right moments. As for act three there is a moment right before the end of the play where all of the lights fade down and a spotlight is put on the two actors dancing in the centre of the stage. She then gave me a copy of the script for me to go home and read over.
This is a fairly easy lighting operation which is good since I haven’t done lighting in a venue or a production this large before. It’s a good way for me to familiarise myself with working in a theatre and learn new, useful skills I wouldn’t learn at college. Skills i think would be useful across all creative industry sectors including film and television production.
I met up with John Treadgold, the theatre technician for the Churchill Theatre. He gave me a tour of the venue, showing me everything I might need to know for the show, from the lighting rigs, the desk the store room and the power controls as well as running through some health and safety procedures. He was very friendly and helpful and gave my his mobile number incase I had any further questions.
I also met the person who would be doing the sound operating for the show, Giorgio.
I then agreed to meet with Jo during the rehearsals for the play to go over what she wanted in therms of lighting design.
I am going to be assisting with the lighting for a local theatre group during their May production. The group is called the Edinburgh Makars and the play they will be performing is called “Good Things” by written by Liz Lochhead.
The Director of the play, Josiphenie Barrow, contacted me asking if i would do the lighting operation during the show.
Although lighting is not what I initially set out to do for the work experience it will allow me to meet my goals and improve in most of the areas I set out to do such as; improve my communication skills, become better at networking and working under pressure to a deadline, as well as giving me experience in a related field to sound and more importantly in theatre. Experience I can use to get more work in the future.
As well as Jo I will be working with the groups usual technician Martin Burnell and the venues technician John Treadgold.