This term I undertook a 2 week placement at Rocket Scenery Ltd. based in Nottingham from the 2nd of May until 12th May 2017. As I have had previous experience in Scenic Arts before I started University I was intrigued to find out how other companies worked and to gain more experience in Scenic painting.
Whist working at Rocket I was able to attend a model box meeting to discuss the two main on-going projects that I would be working on. Sweet Bird of Youth by Tennessee Williams for Chichester Festival Theatre and Annie The Musical for Piccadilly Theatre, London. As I am not sure what career I would like to pursue in the future it was interesting to see professional designer’s work first hand and attend a meeting discussing the schedule and integration between all departments, metal, wood and paint.
Sweet Bird of Youth Model box, designer Antony Ward.
Annie the Musical Model box, designer Colin Richmond.
My first job was to paint slats white and black that would become the shutters for Sweet Bird of Youth that would automatically turn and change colour. This meant we had to paint the white side and the black side and edges precisely so that no colour bled through. We had to solve this problem and so started using a jig that the woodshed made for us in order to paint multiple edges at once. Unfortunately this seemed to take just as long, setting it up and so we resorted to paint with small rollers as we were doing with the face of the slats. This was quite a long job as there were over 900 pieces of wood. We had to paint, sand, clean with meths, glaze and repaint. Glazing the white sides of wood was very important so that if we got any black paint on the white side we could easy rub it off.
I particularly enjoyed working on Annie towards the end of my first week. Colin Richmond’s design was 100’s of jigsaw puzzle pieces with map and address information on them from all over New York. I had to copy a small image from the model box of a jigsaw puzzle piece and blow it up to fit the scale of the set. I began by drawing out in charcoal. I had to pay particular attention to the type of text on the jigsaw piece to try and match the calligraphy as best I could. I used a dark blue roscoe paint to actually paint the text and shapes on. There was some artistic licence to this work when we had to figure out what certain words said and shapes were. This meant my name does appear somewhere on the stage at Piccadilly Theatre!