In a bid to get some experience on set building and design, over the past couple of months I have been volunteering with my local theatrical group and helping them to get ready for their latest performance of The Match Girls.
In the last few months of university I think I finally realised what direction of work I wanted to go in, Art direction, set/prop design, something along those lines. I know last few months? But I see it as better late than never. Anyway I thought it would be a good idea to try and get some first hand experience in that field, after a little pub trip and some exchanging of numbers I was introduced to a man called Peter and his team and began helping out.
Every Wednesday they meet in a barn not too far from where I live and basically build the set/backdrop/probs etc, its honestly been such a great experience, as soon as I got there I was told what was going on and thrown into it, which at first was terrifying but also really encouraging.
With 2 handymen in the family I've always grown up around tools/equipment and my dad and granddad building anything from tables, shelves, sheds everything so I've always been quite interested in being able to build things.
Within the first couple of weeks I was taught how to properly and safely use drills, fixing together huge parts of the set together as well as painting techniques and having a cheeky look into the wardrobe and props cupboard. It felt pretty good to be able to see your work grow every week and be given responsibilities for important parts of the set.
As well as it being a great learning experience, I also get to work with some lovely people who have taught me a lot.
The play Match Girls that we were working on was based on true events, set in 1888 at the Bryant and May match factory and the London match strike of the workers.
Because of this the set design, painting had to replicate 1888 London and factory scene, dirty, smoggy bricked walls, fonts that would have been used for signs, the prop materials and through this I actually got to learn about it. I had never heard of the match girls before which probably terrible but throughout the whole experience I got to and to also get a sense of what it would have been like.
As well as helping with the sets structure, I worked on the Match Works sign, assisted in painting, designed and made a window display of background information as well as anything else I was asked to do. Although the play is over now, I'm sure the next project will be set in motion and we'll be preparing for a christmas production, which I'm looking forward to helping out with!