Christine Collins, a recent graduate of Queen's University Belfast is a technical intern at the Lyric Theatre. Christine won a Northern Bank Freedom Experience Scholarship which included work experience at the Lyric, supported by Arts and Business Northern Ireland.
I'm not quite sure who is God of the Lyric (I dare not pledge my allegiance to one over the other) but whoever he/she is, they declared the dark period in the theatre officially over at end of August! After four weeks of maintenance work, light filled both stages as the curtain went up on two shows in the one week –Dogg's Hamlet/ Cahoot's Macbeth
in the Naughton Studio andThe Gruffalo
on the Northern Bank Stage.
The Gruffalo company was welcomed onto the main stage with the theatre acting like a receiving house as opposed to a producing one - we got the show in and had it up and running in just a few hours. As the curtain went up on one show, another arrived home in the back of a van – Molly Wobbly
was home from Edinburgh! Key word for Tuesday = unloading. Two shows in one day = lots of lifting. The rest of my afternoon was spent helping out stage management with the prep work for The Playboy of the Western World
as there was still quite a lot of props to be made and sourced. Little did I know that as I dirtied down the rope that evening, it would be the first on a long list of many things I would be breaking down for the show.
As I temporarily transferred to stage management for the rest of the week, I began making my hand-made quilt – another prop for Playboy
. As the sun shone brightly on the terrace, I decided to take my sewing there. It seemed somewhat oxy-moronic sewing woollen squares onto woollen fleece material in the baking sun, felt like I was mocking the beautiful weather. Apparently the sun felt the same as it decided to punish me with sunburn! I hadn't considered it too much of a problem until the next day when I was dip-dying all of my materials (hand-made tea towels and chintz curtains to back the quilt) in the boiling hot water and wondered why only my right arm was stinging - the left arm was evidently in the shade of the quilt. Two days later, after several tea and coffee baths and a flooded sink, I had eventually achieved an acceptable amount of dirt on all of the tea towels that myself and the other interns stitched, as well as the two mattress covers (one of which we made) and the blanket. Definitely drank a lot less tea in those few days...
's run in the theatre ended, I went back to the techies to do the get-out and pre-rig for Playboy
. My time with stage management during the week had been like a holiday – sitting in the sun, sewing and getting to do creative things. However, after eight straight hours of rigging and taunting by the tech lads it felt like home! As punishment for me not taking their taunting lying down, I was sent to the weights floor in order to weigh/de-weight all of the bars being used in the rig. Good things to know – the signal is good up there and it welcomes facebook on your phone, bring a jumper because the vents will be open and at night it can get a bit cold, and the grid would be an awesome place for a sneaky nap.
A tech week for a large production can seem quite strange. At the beginning of the week it is all hands on deck to get everything ready to start the technical rehearsals on stage with the cast. Technicians and Stage Management are all hard at work at the same time and breaks happen when it's possible to pause. Then as the cast get into the theatre it all stops. Nothing can be done once they're on the stage and so you find that there are three hours where you're suddenly trying to find something to do and you can't pop out or anything because you might suddenly be called upon to sort or fix something. Then, when the cast stop for lunch or dinner it's a mad rush to get through the never-ending list of tasks, until you have another three hours break before doing it all over again. If you're struggling to imagine this, think of the television show '60 Minute Makeover'
and it will give you a decent idea. With The Playboy of the Western World
now up and running, it's time to look ahead to the upcoming production of The Long Road
and the masses of sugar glass I have to make in three days...
- Think I may have finally mastered the best routes to all the places I generally need to be (this came about after I simply kept walking through doors that I didn't know where they led)
- Been taught (by an expert) the best ways to dye things old school... Discovered that tea provides better results than coffee when dip dying materials, and less tea bags are required. Luckily no one has missed the jar of decaffeinated coffee so far...
- Cursing is not allowed over radios.