From Sample to Stage

This week the up coming musical theatre Production of “Cabaret” is moving towards its assembly on stage and the Opera “Owen Wingrave” will be coming swiftly into the paintshop from the carpenters. I have prepared a sample board for the Production designer to look at. A sample is basically an enlarged section of the 1:25 scale model that is given to us from the designer, think of when you get a sample of wallpaper or a little pot of paint to try before you buy! If the designer doesn’t like it or requests changes then theses changes can be made earlier before its too late. We have been lucky to receive 2 of the masking walls early and I set the 2nd year students the task of following my example (which they did not see me do) and paint it on a larger scale.  The students usually make their own sample boards but because of the overlapping productions and time it fell to me. So this was a great opportunity to view someones finished work and emulate it, a skill that is often required in the industry.

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I learned from last years panto production that the students have more confidence when they are allowed to experiment and practice on a sample before working on the full scale set. Their anxiety and stress drops because they know the steps they need to follow to achieve the final result rather than work blindly in fear. Most of the set is very similar abstract layers of grey spatter so these flats will provide a valuable ‘sounding board’ for the rest of the production. By communicating this to the students, knowing their confidence and skill set is higher than 6 months ago, and discussing their process I’m confident that they can succeed without too much of my input.

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So far I’ve been proved right, and the movement and mark making is beautiful and captures the essence of the sample. They have use a combination of textured foam roller and spatter (the same as me). The colour was a little warm but they’ve adjusted with a cool wash and added a little light back into the darker areas. For the 2nd Year students this is great progression, the aim for level 2 students it to work more autonomously and as a teacher, giving them the time and space, not leading them down a certain path, is invaluable.

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