How we build sets…!
We spoke with Roger Stretton, long-time Lyceum Theatre Oldham set-builder, about how he turns the Director’s vision into reality and co-ordinates a team of enthusiastic volunteers to build the theatre’s award-winning and remarkably realistic sets. Roger is a joiner by trade.
How do you practically turn the design into something that fits on stage?
Lyceum Theatre Oldham has a very small stage and we often want a set to look bigger, particularly the one for BLACK CHIFFON, which is meant to be a large London drawing room.There are two ways of making it look bigger. We can take out the tabs (the curtains at the front of the stage) to make the stage feel wider. We can make the back of the stage narrower than the front. This is called isometric vision and makes the back look much further away than it really is.We also have to work closely with the Director to make sure the set will work on our stage in a practical way, perhaps by altering the design so windows and doors line up with our openings and by making sure that the construction doesn’t cause any lighting problems by having big bits of set in the way of the lighting rig.
How long does it take to create the set?
I am normally thinking about how to build it weeks before we start and in most cases have ordered and got in stock the materials.We can’t start to build until the play before has finished. It can then take two work nights* to remove the old set. Then four to five work nights to build the new one.
*We have a work night every Monday at the theatre. It’s the night when all the different areas of work are done – marketing, front of house, bar and back stage are all in working together. Most of the work is done with my team on a Monday, but I quite often come in during the day to do the more detailed finishings.
How many people are involved and what different jobs are there? Do you have enough help?
On average there are 6 to 7 people involved. The jobs vary, depending on the set but include wallpaper stripping, taking down the old set in gangs of two, moving and stacking of materials. There’s a lot of cleaning up! Then there’s a lot of joinery work to make sure the new set is safe and sturdy. Once the structure is in place, there’s painting and wallpapering. We always welcome new volunteers. All we ask is that they have some skills, enthusiasm and they must be able to work on their own initiative and also work as a team player.
Do you ever re-use old sets?
Yes, we do, but it is very rare we leave part of the last set up. It is quicker to have a fresh start, rather than trying to work round other people’s ideas.
What are the biggest challenges of the Black Chiffon?
The windows and curtains are very big. This is the main feature which I need to scale down but still make sure they look impressive. This set has the tabs in, which means a lot less floor space so many features will be inset. Decorating is really important as the room needs elegance.
Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) Awards 2016 – Update!
Prestigious theatre award nominations for every show this season.
The Greater Manchester Drama Federation (GMDF) serves to promote all aspects of the amateur theatre movement in the Greater Manchester Area. We are proud to be members of this important organisation and even more proud to announce that all our productions so far this year have received nominations for GMDF 2016 Awards.
OF MICE AND MEN, in November, received the most award nominations: EAN BURGON has been nominated for Best Actor for his role as the doomed Lennie, whilst IAN PERKS has received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Candy. Director PAULINE WALSH has been nominated in the Best Director category. The production also received a nomination for Technical Award for its ‘wonderfully detailed and designed set’. For those of you who saw this fantastic production, I’m sure you will agree these acknowledgements of all the hard work is well deserved.
Our talented actors also received nominations for the two plays so far in 2016. RUTH BLASZCZOK has received a coveted Best Actress nomination for her role as the irascible Maureen in THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE, whilst EAN BURGON received his second nomination as Best Supporting Actor for playing Billy’s dad, Geoffrey Fisher in BILLY LIAR.
At the Award ceremony three of our six nominees were successful. They are:
Ean Burgon – best actor for Lennie in “Of Mice and Men”
– best supporting actor for Geoffrey in “Billy Liar”
Ruth Blaszczok – best actress in “Beauty Queen of Leenane”
We also had a nomination on the night – best production for “Of Mice and Men”
Congratulations to all concerned and specially, of course, to Ean and Ruth.
Another excellent season at the Lyceum Oldham.
Be a volunteer at the Theatre!
CAN YOU HELP US?
We are always on the look-out for people willing and able to help us out at Lyceum Theatre Oldham. If you have some spare time, during the daytime or evening and would like to be part of an enthusiastic, friendly team of people who all love theatre, please get in touch.
At the moment, we are in desperate need:
People who have a wee bit of DIY skills or don’t mind humping and shifting – to help build our award-nominated sets. If you’re free on a Monday evening (helping build early on in the process and decorating in the style of the play near to opening night) …
We are also looking for:
People who like to take a stroll with a purpose – to help distribute leaflets and posters around our local community, businesses and homes. If you have a couple of hours free once a month or so …
People who would like to learn a new (and simple) computer skill – to help sell tickets using our box office system both face to face and on the phone. We open the box office on Tuesday afternoons and Thursday evening…
Car Parking and Drop Off / Pick Up Information
There are other car parking spaces around Lyceum Theatre Oldham:
The Southgate Street car park next to the old library. This is well lit at night but it is a 24-hours-7-days-a-week Pay & Display car park. 3hours will cost you £2.10, 5 Hours £2.90. You get 3 hours free parking on Saturdays.
The Waterloo Street car park opposite the Southgate car park. This is also a 24-hours-7-
hours-7-days-a-week Pay & Display car park. 3hours will cost you £2.10, 5 Hours £2.90. You get 3 hours free parking on Saturdays.
The Waterloo Street car park opposite the Southgate car park. This is also a 24-hours-7-days-a-week Pay & Display car park. 3hours will cost you £2.10, 5 hours £2.90. You get 3 hours free parking on Saturdays.
The Queen Street private car park is available for just £1. The car park is supervised for most of the evening.
There is some street parking after 6pm on Retiro Street, Queen Street, Greave Street and Ascroft Street.
There is the large tram car park at Mumps but this is only for people using the tram. However you could park there, catch the tram to Sainsbury’s and then just cross the road to Lyceum Theatre Oldham.
For more information on parking around the theatre visit
and enter the postcode OL1 1QG
map and location of the Theatre click here
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