Wednesday, 5 January 2011

How productions are staged

Productions like The little shop of horrors, Cats and Miss Saigon are usually staged in theatres as plays especially in broadway in front of an large audience. I researched these to give me an insight on how plays are organised and staged and to help me understand the way productions are produced.

Little shop of horrors


Miss saigon


 Les miserables

Stage designs

We had to design set models to display on stage to help the production look more realistc, this consisted of us creating modles by scratch. Creating our own props took a lot of time and effort but was a great experience as it gave the play a more realistic look to it.

This is a technical drawing of the measuements of the stage we used for the production. This was important as it helped us understand how  much space we had to use. Technical drawings are used before any productions to help give the directors an insight on where to place props and actors on the stage.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Final design

This was the poster i personally made for the production as you can see it was to plain and probably wouldnt of had attracted an audience. I felt that it wouldnt catch the viewers eye as it basically seemed boring. when we showed all our posters to the client (Mrs Jones) she liked certain images  fonts and colours from everyones posters and decided that we all should combine our ideas and make one poster as a group.

This is the poster we created as a group as you can see it is a massive improvement from the poster above. This poster related to what the production is about and really caught the viewers eye. The dark colours, blood dripping font and a strong image represented everything about the little shop of horrors and what it is about. Overall I was happy with the look of the poster and knew it would be a success with the target audience.

Monday, 3 January 2011


For this unit we had to set up a musical production called “The little shop of horrors”.  I personally have learnt a lot about theatre like setting up a production, staging and how important the audience is. I realised the ups and downs of being a production designer a high point being showing your work to an appreciating audience. Once we finished designing our production it was acted out by students from our school and was a great success with the audience, we received many great feedbacks.

Deadlines are vital for a production, when planning a production you realise how important deadlines are as if you miss one deadline the whole production can fall apart. I can now understand how much hard work it takes to set up a production and now feel I understand how much pressure there is for professionals working in the theatre industry as they can’t afford to make the same mistakes as we might have done.

 My role was in graphics and we had to design a poster for the production, we all made separate posters but then decided to combine all our ideas into one poster. I feel I showed good leadership, listening and communication skills working with my group as I communicated with others, voiced my opinions and listened to what others had to say. Before we started the unit I thought designing a production would be a simple job and wouldn’t take that much time or effort but I was wrong as it is one of the most hard and stressful experiences of my life. Overall I am grateful we studied this unit as it gave me a great aspect of life as a production designer.

Stage directions and terminology

Stage blocking: This is a term used when a theatre director directs an actor’s movement and positioning on the stage. In most plays the stage directions have been written in the scripts to help the actors with their movement on the stage when acting.

Sightlines: This is a line of sight between the audience and the stage; a good sightline will help the audience see the whole stage.

Stage directions: This is a similar term to stage blocking as the actors receive directions from the director; this involves the physical movement of the actors on stage. The actors are supposed to note the directions in their script.

Upstage: This is used for the actors based at the back of the stage to keep them organised.

Downstage: This is used for the actors, who are based in the front of the stage, this is important as the audience has a great view of the actors.

Stage right & stage left: This is simply actors based on the left and right halves of the stage.

Overall these terms help directors and actors to organise themselves on stage, this is crucial as without these terms actors could get confused on stage and that could effect the production. These terms also benefit the audience as the actors are based all around the stage so the audience have a good view of the play. It is important for actors to learn these terms to help them feel comfortable on stage and to know where to be at what point

Designing and building the plant

When it came to making the plant the whole class had to help as it was a long process and  had to be perfect as it was the main part of the production. Before we created the plant we had to take measurements of a real person as the plant was going to be operated by a person. Getting the measurements right were crucial for the production as the plant is the main factor of the play and getting the measurements wrong would of been a disaster as we wouldnt of had enough time to make it again. I really enjoyed building the plant as it was a great experience and helped me see what it is like building a prop by hand. Once we had finished designing the plant i was excited and anxious to see it come alive in the production and thankfully it was a great success with the audience.

The actual production

My role
I was part of the graphic design group and we were in charge of making the poster for the play, we each individually made our own posters and couldn’t decide which one to use so we ended up taking all the posters and combining our ideas to make one poster. I feel we had an important job as it was up to us to sell the play to the audience by advertising it and making the right poster to attract the audience. Thankfully our posters were a success with the students and attracted a big audience to the play.

This is some research i did on diffrent typefaces i explored for the poster this really helped me to decide how my typeface will look like.

Photos from the production


The main part of setting up the production (little shop of horrors) included attracting an audience to view it. We did this by making a poster, a few of us made separate posters and then decided to combine our ideas together and make one poster. We also had to make sure our poster didn’t contain anything copyright. Our target audience was mainly aimed at children, so we had to make sure our poster contained the right text and images to catch the viewer’s eyes. We then made copies of our posters and displayed them around the school to attract the students.
Audience feedback
We interviewed some of the audience to ask them for their feedback on the production.

·        “The show was great! Really looked real and was very colourful.” (Baldeep, 14 yrs)
·        “That plant scared me it looks so realistic”(Jaspreet, 16)
·        “It was very professional looking i really enjoyed it. The lighting was great and the set design made the production look real” Mr Khan (Dad 39)
·        “The props and background were impressive, especially the giant plant and how it got bigger and bigger in each scene, that was the best bit. It really looked like it was eating people” Mr. Edwards (Teacher, 59)
·        “I loved the music it really helped me to get into the play” (stevenson, 15)
·        “I really enjoyed it and was shocked to see how real the plant looks it actually scared me a bit” (Harleen, 16 yrs)

Overall the play was a big success and received great reviews from the audience. It was great to hear such positive feedback from the audience as we worked hard to create and design the production. I personally was proud to see our production coming to life especially the plant as it actually looked real. I am glad to have contributed to the production and I now know how hard and stressful it is to be a production designer but it is also a great feeling to see your production being a success.

Production designer interview

We interviewed a professional theatre designer who worked in theatre, film and television since 1990.

What attracted you to production design?
I fell in love with theatre design when I saw my first production and when I knew I had a natural ability with art.

What problems did u encounter?
It’s a highly competitive industry, you have to be really skilled and have ambition to succeed. You work on a free lanced self employed basis and have to be highly disciplined with your cash flow.

What qualifications have you achieved?
Art and design, also interested in history and 3D design, I did a bachelors degree in theatre design and then a masters in Film and TV. Overall it took me six years to achieve all my qualifications.

How is the pay as a production designer?
The pay is very good in Film and Television especially commercial work. In commercial work the designer can get in excess of £500 a day. It is a freelance job so you only get paid when you work.

How do you deal with finding work?
You can hire a agent and they will look for work and organise things for you but they will take a certain percentage of your fee. You should also network with other people in the industry this will help you incase any of them have a job opening.

What do you like and dislike about being a production designer?
It is varied and extremely creative and the pay is good, also a lot of travelling. The challenging things are a very high level of responsibility and stress, dealing with tight budgets and deadlines.

What is it like showing your work to the audience?
You have to make sure your work is scene by the whole audience in the theatre. It is very exciting especially when you get a positive audience reaction. You realise you have a significant impact on how much the audience enjoys and understands the performance. It’s demanding a full time commitment.

What is the most important skill?
Visual and communication skills are vital as you need to communicate with a wide audience.

Have you ever had a bad review?
Yes but only once, a member of the audience complained about not being able to view my production properly because of the stage setting.