Thursday, 16 December 2010


For the production ‘Little shop of Horrors’ I got involved in with different things. Before the show I helped out to make the plant – this included sketching, wiring everything together, and painting. On the actual day of the production, I helped put the plant on stage. We made miniature scales for the set so we could see what it looks like in big size, and then helped paint everything. I lent a hand in making the tools of the dentist chair, and the flowers for the set. We used different coloured tissue paper and scrunched it up to make it look like a flower. This is all included as prop construction. As I made most of the props and helped construct and what everyone else in the group should do. This helped with my organisational skills.                                                                                   
I helped with selling leaflets at the front door. We sold them for 30p; this helped with my selling skills and communication with the audience. I had also helped out backstage doing the curtains – opening and closing them. I also helped with the Graphic design of the poster. We decided to use black and red colours to make it seem that the show will be adventurous and dangerous. As the colour red shows blood and jeopardy.  We put all the details at the bottom of the poster e.g. venue, time, date etc. We’d also included a big image of the plant on the front as it’s the most important thing about the show. With some help I also made the ‘Mushnik Florist’ sign to go on stage, as well as the set painting. I didn’t want to make it to big otherwise it would take up the whole stage and not to small otherwise the audience at the back wouldn’t be able to see. I got involved with stage management this included in helping getting the guy in an out of the plant the technical requirements of the show such as the model box and the plant. I also got involved with the Visual research this incorporated with the 1950’s mood board, and mind map. This helped me gain more knowledge on my research skills as I had to explore different words and images related to 1950’s New York. I had to also be aware of the Copyright issue.  As you can see in my other file, after all of these things that I got involved with I had to make sure of the Health and Safety Precautions for the production – before, during and after.

One element of the project that I consider that I’ve learnt from the most is when I was working back stage with the actors/ actresses, client, and the whole team production. I feel that any difficulty that arises I overcame and handled without delay as you have to be prepared to face anything that may cause the show not to run efficiently. You can prevent things like this from happening by rehearsing as much as you can, keep checking lists that need to be done, make sure everyone is available when needed and that everything works constructively well. Having an organisational manger is very important and can make a huge improvement in comparison to not having one at all.
I’ve also learnt that while creating the props and action prop construction we needed to be precise of the measurements. Rehearsing is fundamental as you can improve for the live show and make any arrangements such as when its queue to open and close curtains, the different lighting (brightness, colour, position etc) sound, and the use of props (position and the placements of the background.

What I found out from pre production work is that Pre-production is the process of preparing all the elements involved in a film, play, or other performance’s. We worked hard when the show was coming close to the deadline by researching more information and having a timescale. If we work with pressure during his time then I feel it’s important in planning a performance because the show can go on smoothly and you know what to expect. To be more successful in finishing all tasks given it will be good to have an classify and arrange a management leader who will give up their free time to help instruct and teach all the team members with tasks bearing in mind the time scale.    If we have a strict timeline there will be dis-advantages like everyone will have to work quickly while achieving high standard work, but most of all its good because the work will be done. During pre-production, the script is broken down into individual scenes and all the locations, props, cast members, costumes, special effects and visual effects are identified.

I believe that I was good at showing my artistic skills when I got involved in the graphic designs of the poster, the drawing of the “Mushnik Florist” sign on stage, and also making miniature scales for the set, and when I helped paint everything. Also I felt I was good at the finding of the images. This was useful for me as well because it assisted me with my researching visually skills by using search engines.
I feel that I was bad at meeting the deadlines straight away after the work was given even though I did get it done. I’m also a perfectionist, so I want everything to be complete up to standard and I have high expectations in my own work, and I want to do well and I tried very hard in the whole production.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Stage Direction Terminology

Stage Blocking- Stage blocking is one of the most basic and technical elements of play direction. Blocking provides the backbone and structure needed to make other elements a reality. Blocking is the choreography of actors' movements throughout the entire play. If a character needs to exit the scene, for example, the actor must be able to move naturally towards the exit. The director's goal is to come up with a plausible means of getting that actor across the stage and through the door, window, and transporter beam.
Sightlines - A sightline is a 'line of sight' between spectators and the stage or playing area at a venue (for example a stadium or theatre). This is a radial view and a good sightline will allow a spectator to see all areas of the venue stage. It is recommended that the spectator's eye height must be not being lower than 800 mm above the stage.
Stage directions - In theatre, the stage is a designated space for the performance of theatrical productions. The stage serves as a space for actors or performers and a focal point for the members of the audience. To an actor facing the audience, "left" and "right" is the reverse of what they are for the audience.
Upstage - is an open source server-side application that has been purpose built for Cyberformance: multiple artists collaborate in real time via the Upstage platform to create and present live theatrical performances, for audiences who can be online (from anywhere in the world) or in a shared space, and who can interact with the performance via a text chat tool. It can also be understood as a form of digital puppetry.

Professional Practice - Case study of a theatre designer

Dan Potra - Theatre and Film Designer
Dan recently moved to the UK from Australia where he has graduated from National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992. He has also graduated from Bucharest Art Institute in 1985.

He worked with companies including Opera Australia and Sydney Theatre Company as well as designing for the opening ceremonies of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

Dan has designed for, opera, theatre, film, television and other large scale events across the world. These include Places like USA, Europe, Middle East, Asia and Russia.

His work in the UK includes ‘The Gathering’ at Edinburgh Castle, ‘L’incoronazione’
for Garsington Opera, ‘Samson’ for Buxton Festival, ‘Sweeny Todd’ at the Royal Festival Hall. As you like it, merrily we roll along, the importance of being earnest and Moon Landing at Derby Playhouse and the opening ceremony and Portrait of Nation events for Liverpool 08.
I think his work is very unique and brilliant. I like the way he uses different materials and fabrics for a set on stage to make it look more stylish. When he’s designing a set he also makes it look more eye catching as well and I choose him because of all the work he’s designed for, which is very interesting. A theatre/film production designer are usually gifted artists, who is normally art school trained, and often specialising in 3, theatre or film design. The skills that they have are to communicate visual ideas with images & words.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Introduction to the Task.

 My name is Samira Shabani. I’m studying Creative Art and Media Diploma, with A-Level Textiles. This is a 2 year course. It's challenging in its own way but I’m very determined to do the best I can in each class.
In this creative and media diploma, one of the subjects that are included with this course is set design with Ms Wyglidacz. So far I have done a mood board based on 1950s New York, and I have done a lot of research on it, because we’re doing the set, the plant and the graphics of the production “Little Shop Of horrors”. As set is very essential in the theatre I will try my best to make it. I will give different ideas in my group discussions and cooperate with everyone. I will be looking forward to making the set as it’s significant, in the production. The picture below is a picture taken from our teacher while we were doing work.

1950's New York Mood-Board and Evaluation On It

We had watched the film "Little Shop of Horrors". I then had gained information about the film and saw how the layout of the set is. This then helped me when we had to print out images for my "1950's Mood board".
A mood board is for visual research which represents a theme that you want to show. In the search engines, any criteria required can be simply searched, whether it is an image or a page of interest, or a theme or mood.
One of the most common search engines also known as Google. When rummaging through images, some images appear to be distorted of a poor quality. Generally, the best size of printing out any image without blurring is 300×250 jpg.              
You can access the WebPages for free and don’t necessarily need to pay for the usage; in other words you don’t have to pay royalties or download fees. Some of the examples can be and The keywords that were appropriate for this theme is 1950’s New York Backstreet.
The mood board helped me design the set because I had selected and edited appropriate images to go on my mood board. We had chosen 1950’s New York pictures from my mood board and we used these visual influences to tell us what kind of detailed colours, textures, and period details to use on the set design.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Staging Types

The O2 Arena is set in South East London. It has the space of nearly 23,000 but this is depending on the event. It’s one of the largest indoor arenas in Europe alongside the Manchester Evening News Arena. The O2 Arena since its opening in 2007 has been host of many concerts, from UK bands and artists to international superstars. The sports that the O2 Arena had held are:

v  Darts
v  Boxing
v  Basketball                       
v  Gymnastics
v  Hockey
v  Tennis
v  UFC
v  Professional Wrestling
v  The Olympics


The Royal Opera House is an opera house and major performing arts venue in the London district of Covent Garden. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera houses original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. The Royal Opera House seats 2,268 people and consists of four tiers of boxes and balconies and the amphitheatre gallery. The proscenium is 12.20 m wide and 14.80 m high. The main auditorium is a Grade 1 listed building.

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.
A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997. It is approximately 230 meters (750 ft) from the site of the original theatre. The Capacity of the Globe Theatre is 3,000–seated and standing.

The Brewery is a music venue located on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh, North Carolina. The Brewery was opened in 1983 by Kenny Hobby. The Brewery has long been a stop for up-and-coming touring acts, as well as established acts with a somewhat diminished fan base. It hold up to at least 300 people.

The Swan was a theatre in Southward, London, England, built in 1595 on top of a previously standing structure, during the first half of William Shakespeare's career.  It was the fourth in the series of large public playhouses of London, after James Burbage's The Theatre (1576) and Curtain (1577), and Philip Henslowe's Rose (1587–88).

Wembley Stadium is a football stadium located in Wembley Park, in the London Borough of Brent, England, which opened in 2007 on the site of the previous 1923 structure. The 90,000 capacity venue is the second largest stadium in Europe, and serves as England's national stadium. It is the home venue of the England national football team. Besides football, Wembley can be configured to hold many other events, particularly major concerts. People such as Lady Gaga and George Michael gave performed on this stage.

Set Design and Types of Staging

A Proscenium theatre is a theatre space whose primary feature is a large frame or arch. The audience all watch from the front. The use of the term "proscenium arch" is explained by the fact that in Latin, the stage is known as the "proscenium", meaning "in front of the scenery."Its traditional staging which often has decorative architecture. It’s normally used mainly for drama, plays, musicals, concerts etc.


In theatre, a thrust stage is one that extends into the audience on three sides and is connected to the backstage area by its upstage end. This type of staging is more modern. The performers are amongst the audience so it feels more ‘friendly’. It’s usually used for drama, but also display & exhibition e.g. fashion shows.

In-the-round is more of a contemporary staging were the audience completely surrounds the stage so they feel included in the performance. The stage itself in this arrangement is typically round, diamond, or triangular, with actors entering and exiting through the audience from different directions or from below the stage. It’s very flexible uses e.g. Rock/classical music concerts, exhibition, presentation & conferences, TV shows.


This is an image that I uploaded. It's an image based on one of the stages called "Thrust". It’s a plan that also has measurements and the height and width.

Meeting With Ms Jones (Client)

When we met Ms Jones as a group we had asked her a few questions such as,
“What does the set need to look like?”
“What’s the colour theme of the production?”
She then told us the "Little Shop of Horrors" Production set needs to be moist and dry. She had added “The set needs to be a damp, dull street and look like a rundown layout”.
The colour theme has to be mostly red and black to represent the colour from the title
Later on in the scene she said their needs to be “brighter colours”.
She had liked our ideas of the flower signs for the florist scenes. The colours we used, and the images of Brooklyn Bridge and how we had positioned it on the miniature set.
She had finally added “When the dentist scene comes up she said it needs to be a “Grubby dentist – and look unprofessional”.

This is a florist scene and one of the main characters acting in it, as he is talking to one of the plants we had made; this is just the small one.

This is the plant that we had ended up making for a few of the scenes in the "Little Shop of Horrors" Production. It was fun making it, I really enjoyed it and it came out how we planned. We were all very happy about the result.


This is a picture of the florist scene of the whole set and some of the people acting in it.

Ms Jones also talked to us about the "Mushnik Florist" sign so we had to make one from scratch. So we tried different colours and styles and we decided as a group to try this sign out for the florist sign, but we didn’t end up actually choosing it for the final piece, because it was the wrong colours – as it had to be brighter so it can stand out, seeing that it was too dark.

We had tried out different idea for the mushnik florist idea again and then we ended up choosing this one because it was more visual and can see it better on stage as its more noticeable for the audience and the people at the back of the hall. As you can see the 'Mushnik Florist' sign on the image below. 

This is an image from my journal that I kept from the start of this project. This is with client notes with Ms Jones and an image from the miniature box. which i then typed up and added some more information.

Relationship with the client
It’s crucial to have constant communication with the client because if there are any changes occurring, the designers have to be aware. In this case the client was the director and her creative vision of what the show should look like as a whole is the most important element, so the design team needs to be clear about all her requirements. It is also vital that the designer communicates visually with the client, so they have a clear vision of what the show would look like. This Is where using mood boards, the set models and other drawings is useful.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Jobs in Theatre/Staging

Director – They control a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, while guiding the technical crew and actors. Also this is a person directs the actors and crew in the making of a film.

Producer - A film producer or movie producer is someone who selects a screenplay, initiating the process of film making. The producer oversees the whole process including coordinating, supervising and controlling matters such as fund-raising, hiring key personnel such as the film director.
Designer - A designer is person who designs. More formally, a designer is an agent that "Specifies the structural properties of a design object”.
Lighting Designer - The role of the lighting designer (or LD) within theatre is to work with the director, set designer, costume designer, and sometimes the sound designer and choreographer to create an overall 'look' for the show in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety and cost.
Musical Director – This is just someone who directs music such as an; orchestra, The director of music for a film, The director of music at a radio station, The head of the music department in a public school, The co-ordinator of the musical ensembles in a university or college, The head bandmaster of a military band, The head organist and choirmaster of a church or an Organist and Master of the Choristers, a title given to a Director of Music at a Cathedral, particularly in England.
Stage manager - is one who has overall responsibility for stage management and the smooth execution of a production.
Stage crew - Sets the stage and helps with the scenery design, set hire, rostra/staging/treads and flat hire as well as sound and lighting design and fit up.
Choreographer – this may refer to the design itself but it’s just is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified.
Props Master - A prop master is a professional who supervises the use of properties, better known as props, in a theatrical production or on a film.
Publicist - is a person whose job is to generate and manage publicity for a public figure, especially a celebrity, a business, or for a work such as a book, album or film . Most top-level publicists work in private practice, handling multiple clients.

The image above is showing a stage manager directing a production. You can see he has a sheet in his hand which probably is a time sheet where he knows what time and when everything in the production should take place. He's also got an ear piece and that shows he can communicate with everyone at all times. 

Construction manager – This entails the planning, scheduling, evaluation, and controlling of construction tasks or activities to accomplish specific objectives by effectively allocating and utilizing appropriate labor, material, and time resources in a manner that minimizes costs and maximizes customer/owner satisfaction
Dresses/Wardrobe assistant - This includes -     
-                  Buying and hiring suitable costumes and accessories
-                  Helping to make or assemble costumes
-                  Mending, altering, cleaning, washing, ironing, packing and storing costumes
-                  Fitting performers with costumes and accessories
-                  Organizing and keeping records of outfits
-                  Making sure all items are ready to wear when needed