The technical department has now reached the summer and wow what a packed season we’ve had. We’ve seen over 60 events come through our scene dock ready to be transformed to fit onto The Octagon stage. Every day has been different for us as we have welcomed ballet, rock ‘n’ roll, multiple comedians, children’s shows, operas, plays, local amateur companies, a psychic and even a male voice choir.
July and August is the time when we have to take all our lights and technical equipment down from the stage and set about the yearly task of cleaning and testing it all – with over 500 items to inspect, clean, repair and have tested this takes the team two weeks to get through. The stage area is cleaned and checked over, stage drapes are sewn and repaired, the stage itself is touched up with paint, and the flying system is tested. Lamps, tape, smoke fluid, and supplies are re ordered ready for the new season ahead (that order includes 200 rolls of tape!).
Then, when we are happy that it all meets the standard, we begin the task of hoisting it all back up into the roof, plugging up, and choosing the colour gels to put into the lights (several hundred to choose from); this takes the team two days. It’s then that the lighting board is turned on (remote operated by an iPad) and we start to go through socket by socket to see if all our hard work is rewarded with everything working and lighting up as it should. The lighting bars are then set to the required height and stage drapes are flown. Next the Genie Lift comes onto the stage… Working at 22ft we focus and point all the stage lights one by one to their required place ready for the next show to take place.
Following this busy maintenance period comes our annual Summer School Projects – easing us gently into the new season. The summer schools offer local children with an interest in theatre the chance to create a show in a week which they then get to perform for friends and family; giving them the opportunity to explore their creative side. We are always excited to see new faces joining these popular projects as well as the children who return year after year – it’s great for us to see how much local talent is constantly improving and developing.
These projects are one of the most enjoyable times of year for the technical team, as we get to be involved in all aspects of the production. The sound, lighting, set and props are all designed and made by us and every year the directors bring us more and more technical productions – in the sound department alone we have to find/create over 50 sound effects!
After the children have learnt lines, practiced choreography and rehearsed direction we run a couple of dress rehearsals with music and all technical aspects so everybody knows what they’re doing and then we’re ready for the show. The auditorium then fills with friends and family, and 45 mins later we’ve had another successful show with over 40 happy children and a lot of proud parents.