Smile Through It II: The Next Chapter

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Flurry of work

Posted by Oli on Wednesday 30th September, 2009

Right, first off I should offer my apologies for my mini (or maxi) rant in my last post. I really was annoyed though. For the record – if anyone from the STUDENT LOANS COMPANY or SLC happens to be reading this – I still don’t have the stuff I need to be able to square away my loans and actually get some money. Thanks to to lovely Bank of Mum & Dad, however, I’ve been able to settle myself with a computer in my room to allow me to actually, you know, work. That loan’s being called in as soon as the real one comes through.

But let’s move on as that’s not what you want to read/hear about anyway, is it? You want to hear about LIPA and – specifically – how awesome it is. And boy is it.

I’ve now been living in Liverpool for 16 days, which already feels like months. I know Liverpool pretty well now, although I’m still finding decent little short-cuts and cut-throughs to get me places even quicker. I’ve got my walk to uni down to a steady 15 minutes at a sensible pace and I can find just about every shop I want to or need to in town now, too. I’ve also learned that I’m never going to have a problem finding a Tesco. There’s at least 5 within a 15 minute walk of me, either at LIPA or my apartment.

The course is brilliant – a great mix of general knowledge technical and design stuff and more detailed, specific tasks. It is hard work though. All our days begin at 9.30am – because that’s the time professional theatre workers come in, usually – and if we have all day lectures, as I now do on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, we are timetabled to be there until between 4.30 (usually) and 7pm (on occasion).

In addition to the timetabled stuff I already have 5 assignments from my 6 modules, the first of which is due in just three weeks and happens to be the very, very hardest of them all. It’s called the Slice of LIPA project and it’s part of our design and construction course. We all have to choose a part of LIPA to accurately recreate in a 1:25 scale model.

I’ve chosen this area, the entrance to the Institute’s studio theatre venue in the atrium:

The Sennheiser Studio Theatre at LIPA

The Sennheiser Studio Theatre at LIPA

I have to say I thought it was a good compromise between tricky detailing and large sections of block colour, but as I began to measure for and – on Tuesday – to make the model, I discovered I was wrong. Apart from anything else I spent nearly 2 hours on Tuesday morning measuring out, cutting and carving all 12 individual paving slabs, after my initial plan to make it work, well, didn’t.

Across the other modules I’ve also been on a tour of the whole theatre, including the grid – the part of a theatre where all the wires holding up the flying scenery are gathered and other technical stuff happens that I either don’t know or is too complicated to get into here (mostly the former, granted). From the grid you can also get to the roof, which is where this photo is from:

The sunset over Liverpool from the LIPA roof

The sunset over Liverpool from the LIPA roof

Not bad for a view, eh?

I have also started a stage management module, a lighting and electrics module, a context and professional development combined module and a fundamental skills module. These include climbing ladders, health & safety, soldering, reading scripts, breaking scripts down, knowing what DMX means and a variety of other things.

And on top of all this academicness (which may or may not be a real word), I’ve also been assigned my first show as an ASM (Assistant Stage Manager – get used to the abbreviation because I’m not clarifying it every time I write it on here!). I’m going to be working on the first big show of the year in the Paul McCartney Auditorium, which is to be Wind in the Willows. And when I say big, I mean big with a capital “B”. And, from the model box I saw yesterday, with a capital “I” and “G” too, I suspect.

In fact, I must excuse myself from this missive to go and wade my way through the script again and then tackle the 18 page (yes, EIGHTEEN page) props list. Wish me luck.


One Response to “Flurry of work”

  1. Zelda said

    I hope your Wind in the Willows doesnt end up like our Wind in the Willows 2 years ago. We had to evacuate the theatre on the final Saturday Matinee due to a fire at a department store the next street over. The electricity was cut and we had to get an almost full house of kids/parents/grandparents out as quickly as possible with NONE of us having much of an idea of what the HELL was going on…being volunteers and all.
    Bump out that night was apparently done with someone permentantly on ember watch at the skip…..

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