Join Us – Behind the Scenes

Making it happen behind the scenes!

If treading the boards really isn't for you, then there's a wealth of "back stage" activities which you can get involved in. These are as vital as the people on stage to the success of any production.

The design of the "lighting rig" for a show is quite an involved process. Familiarising oneself with the script, and attending production meetings with the director and producer are key to getting the lights right. Several factors have to be taken into account for each scene. Are any special effects required e.g. fixed spots, lightning, rain, blackouts? What is the mood of the scene? How much of the stage needs to be lit? The colour and intensity of the lighting play an important part in determining how the audience perceive a scene. Simply mixing different coloured lights achieves different effects red or yellow lights can give a warm glow whilst green and blue give a colder or creepier feeling.

Once the design has been decided it's time to "rig it" or set up the lights. This involves positioning, focusing and placing coloured gels over each light. A "lighting plot" must be produced which details all the lights and lighting changes for the whole show, scene by scene. Certain special lighting effects require hiring of pyrotechnics or other type of lights, these have to be rigged and incorporated into the lighting plot too. The lights are operated from a computerised "lighting console" during performances. The lighting plot can be programmed into the console, and used to run the show - all at the push of a button by the lighting person. If you've got an eye for colour and a head for heights, then maybe this is for you.

We use microphones to ensure that everyone in the audience is able to hear properly, the number and type of microphones used depends on the show. Working out what microphones are required, is part of the sound person's job. Likewise, if sound effects are required, they have to work out what is used when as well as finding the actual sound effects. Playing pre-recorded music and backing tracks are also part of the job. During the performances the sound person has to ensure that everyone who should be heard can be, the output of the various mics has to be balanced, sound effects and any backing tracks have to be played on cue, as does pre-recorded music. It is essential that the sound person is familiar with the script and attends a few rehearsals so that they know who is on stage and when they speak.

Set Construction
If you can bang it, screw it, hammer it, nail it, bolt it, saw it, hang it, tie it, draw it, cut it, push it, pull it, lift it, move it, build it or paint it then this could be the thing for you. If you enjoy making things, then try a bit of DIY with a difference. Take a break from the wobbly table, dripping tap, extra shelves etc., and help create a fantasy world instead. Read on to find out some of the things you could get up to. Cloth painting - When it come to painting scenery, Size does matter. Could you turn a blank 20 x 15 ft canvas into a royal ballroom (complete with sweeping staircase), a medieval street, or a desert island? Cloths cannot be painted with normal household emulsion - scenery paint is required. This comes in powdered form and is mixed with a solution of "size" (a sort of glue which comes in pellet/powder form which has to be dissolved in hot water) to ensure it sticks to the scenery.