Scenic Arts

I was excited about scenic arts week because I worked at a scenic arts and construction company for 6 months last year and so I was excited to pick up a paint brush again!

Our project was ‘Urban Decay’. We had to scale up a 1:25 image of a graffitied wall onto a 6×3 metre canvas as well as making a piece of brick wall. We primed the two canvases white and then split into two groups and within that group we had a section to scale up. I liked my section because it was a mixture of brickwork/simple colours at the top and bold, fun graffitied letters at the bottom.

I used my scale ruler and tape measure to scale up my section, marking out with pencil and charcoal firstly then a brown painted outline. I really enjoyed building up the ‘sup’ and ‘noke’ lettering and then distressing them with paint marks and sandpaper to give them a graffitied feel.

It was challenging working alongside so many people, not only because of liIMG_5545mited space but because we had to work as a team to carefully match up colours and lines from section to section. I think at first everyone began the project working alone but gradually throughout the week we realised the importance of collaborating to make the canvas work as a whole.

To create the brick walls we split pieces of MDF in half using scrapers and Stanley knifIMG_5530es then placed them on a board to create a brick pattern. After sticking these down we covered the board in idenden to fill in gaps and create interesting wall texture or mortar lines and then primed it black. We then used rollers to paint the walls in varying browns and oranges (a mix of burnt sienna, raw umber etc.). I enjoyed creating beige mortar lines and detailing areas to distress and suggest they had been re-pointed.


Here is our final presentation at the end of the week. We drilled all of the separate brick walls together to appear as one. The canvas on the left is my groups and I was really happy with the results.

Lighting – Session 3 & 4

Session 3 – Scenes

In this session we looked more closely at the context of the scene. For example we considered:

  • Time of day
  • Season/ Weather
  • Indoors or Outdoors
  • What/where are the sources of light

We were given different scenarios to explore, creating lighting for particular scenes.

Challenge 1: A moonlit night

I’m really happy with the concept we came up with. Going along with the traditional blue lighting used in film and theatre to represent light we used a blue gel through 1 LED Profile light. Then we used a cloud gobo to create the misty effect, projecting white light through. Finally an iris created the moon, which is fitted into the light like a gobo and creates a circle shape that can be adjusted bigger and smaller. I think this small moon is best because its a focus point amongst the night sky.

Challenge 2: An Office, Film Noir

This task was harder in some ways because we had a style as well as a scenario but because it was ‘film noir’ it limited us to black and white and so it made it easier. We could concentrate on making the scene really effective using shadows and back lighting. Think ‘Brief Encounter’!

We set up a profile on a stand and used a gobo of a window that looked like it could be in an old office. We then used floor lighting to back light the actor and a fresnel on the bars to counter balance it so that we could see some of her face and to increase the shadows.

Session 4 – Hamlet

We began looking at extracts of Hamlet so that we could apply our lighting knowledge to an actual script and one that we will be studying next term.


  • 10 x lighting channels
  • 12 x lanterns (4 x types of lantern)
  • 3 x gobos
  • 4 x colour of gel
  • 2 x floor plates
  • 5 x programmed lighting states

My group looked at Scene 3 ‘A room in Polonius’ house’ and Scene 4’The Platform’

We wanted Scene 3 to be yellow and hazy as if morning had just broken because of clues in the text such as ‘A violet in the youth of primy nature’ and ‘in the morn and liquid dew of youth’. We used an LED Profile with a programmed yellow gel and placed a gobo of a window in front. We then used a floor light (floor plate) with a warmer yellow to create the feeling of sun rising or perhaps a fire.


window gobo

We could easily change the LED Profile light to blue for scene 4 to create the feeling of night and we re-used the cloud gobo from the last session to create a misty, cold feeling with a white profile light.

‘The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.’ – weather

‘I think it lacks of twelve’ – time frame

We also used a fresnel with a blue gel hanging from the bars to create a better intensity on stage from all angles.

The above photos show the morning, yellow lighting concept we created for Scene 3 and the night time, bluey, cloudy lighting concept we came up with for Scene 4. We placed an armchair in the scene, dressed in tartan scarves to give the scene further context which I think worked really well given our limited time and resources.






Lighting – Session 1 & 2

Session 1

In our first lighting session we were introduced to different types of lights such as fresnels and profiles and in our groups we rigged up lights on a stand, focussing the lights and using a dimmer to make the light brighter and darker. The week before I had a day’s work experience helping rig lights from a production of Volpone at The Cockpit Theatre in London, where the lights were mainly lit with yellow and blue gels from above. I learnt a lot that day but it was interesting to work with lights on stands at this session.

  1. Washer
  2. Spigot
  3. Wing nut
  4. Spanner to fix the spigot, washer and bolt to the light

Once we had set up a light we played around with lighting the actor by angling, focussing and changing the dimmer. We looked at how to make light naturalistic and non-naturalistic.

  1. Back lighting – put the actor’s face in the dark and create a shadow, perhaps appropriate for an ominous, ┬ánon-naturalistic scene
  2. Front lit – Bright on the actors’ faces, perhaps creates good daylight, naturalistic.

Session 2 – Colour

We began to test different gels to see what they would do to the lights. It was challenging to get the profile light on a stand to light the actor without being too bright on their face.

I thought the green light was too harsh on the actor’s face even when it was dimmed down. I liked the blue lighting because it highlighted the actor’s expression and complimented the pose rather than distracting.

We also tried out LED lights which I liked because you can pick whatever colour you want rather than having to cut out the right gel.