Tuesday, 3 September 2013

National Youth Theatre of GB - The Trials and Tribulations

I would like to foremost thank all of those that helped me achieve my goal of raising enough money to attend the National Youth Theatre of GB - Set Construction Course this summer.
A special thanks to/ Diolch arbennig i; Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Plasmawr, aelodau Eglwys Efengylaidd Gymraeg Caerdydd a cwmni Telesgop for your help/ am eich cymorth.

The two weeks have been truly unforgettable, as I have learnt so many new skills that I will undoubtedly use for the rest of my career. Made new friends from all over the country, that share my passion for theatre. I know that we will be in contact for future shows and projects for years to come.

I lived in a flat of 5 (Hannah, Matt, Callum and Tash - for one night) on Holloway Rd, not far from where the NYT course was held. The course started on the 20th of August with an introductory session with my course mates and tutors Duncan, Matt and Course Assistant Emilie. We all gave a reason why we chose to attend the course, mine being ' I don't do DIY.' Yet, that reason didn't stop me getting stuck in right away.

On that first day we learnt all about power tools, millimetre measuring, woods, screws and various machinery. Creating our first flats in teams, working together and learning the ropes. The best way to learn is by being chucked in at the deep end, it's either sink o'r swim.

The kitchen Catastrophes.

On our first night together, (flat 412) we all went shopping together and decided to cook a meal. All was going well with the Fajitas, as I was cooking (no word of a lie) I had help with the prep of course by my flatmates. I asked Matt to season the food, the next thing I know the lid of the pepper grinder had fell into the wok with half of the pepper corns in with it!! What a disaster.
I was laughing so hard I had to sit down. 'But the show must go on' as they say, so we tried to take out as much as we could of the pepper corns, and yes it was WELL seasoned extra hot and crunchy. We kept finding pepper corns for the rest of the time we spent in the flat! The first mistake of many...

Lessons learnt from cooking in Flat 412:

1. Never let Matt Ingram season anything.
2. Do not try and melt butter in the paper packaging, it's actually made of foil.
Microwaves + Foil ≡ Fire
3. Always read M&S food instructions, some of their plastics melt in the oven.
4. Never let Matt Ingram cook without supervision.
5. Cooking as a flat can be very fun, but also stressful. Approach with caution in future. So, if all else fails, have a take away.

Since this post, Matt Ingram successfully cooked a casserole for his family. Fair play.

As the week went on the Workshop group bonded, and everyone got on really well. I don't think I've laughed so much in a long time. There were 9 girls and 1 boy, it was hilarious, as we had no idea what we were doing for the first few days.

Things I will never forget;
- 'Is it Flush?' - Referring to the edges of the wood, if they are smooth and perfectly inline it's A Ok.
- It's better that it's perfect before you finish, as sanding it down is NOT the easy option.
- PVA glue, nail gun and screws = Can stick basically anything together.
- 'Sending a screw to Australia' - When you've drilled in the screw and it's gone so far it's the other side of the world.
- Having a half naked man walking/working in the studio will distract 9 girls from the task in front of them, especially if that man does Yoga. The levels of concentration will deteriorate significantly and probably result in uncontrollable giggling.

We had two talks from set designers for the NYT Rep company; Fiona Russell SD for Pope Joan and James Button SD for Tory Boyz. They both answered our questions clearly, explained and communicated their design concepts to us. It really inspired me to think practically about the design process through to the construction. I was challenged by the time scale for the creation of the design, which had to be completed in about 2 weeks.

We created the set for NYT production of Epic Stages that showcased at the end of our two week course. Also, we made props for a number of the Rep company shows; Throne and treds for Pope Joan, Desks for Tory Boyz and lanterns.

We had a number of days closer to the end of the two weeks with professional Scenic Designer/Painter Charlotte. After having a presentation with images of her past work we got cracking on our very own pieces. As a group we made; new pieces of wood to look old, re-created wall, turner-esque 3 flat painting, spray gun painting and lantern rust. These projects were really exciting and I thoroughly enjoyed questioning Charlotte about her experience in theatre.

(I painted: the top section of the left flat and the bottom of the middle flat)

Finally we also had the opportunity to design and create our own projects. I decided to make a guitar stand, knowing I would be receiving one for my 21st birthday. It would also be transportable on the bus journey home! Using a jigsaw, cutting out two L shapes, sanding the edges and using a hinge to connect them. Finishing by adding rope to secure the width then burning the wood, for an edgy urban look.

During the last week Matt had surprised us all with free tickets to the pop up roller skating rink, as he was a part of the team that built it.
The experience in itself was thrilling, although I was holding on to dear life most of the time, to the hand rail with sweaty knee pads strapped on. But as I have a titanium prosthesis, it was a lifetime achievement for me.
The funny thing was, as we were skating around we were discussing the quality and materials of the construction. It just shows what we had already learnt and that we loved building things!

Before you start thinking that I hadn't been to the West End; I went to see 5 shows in total over the two weeks, I will write a brief blog reviewing each of them individually later.

As the course drew to a close on the 30th, we received our certificates, every strand gave speeches thanking everyone involved, it was lovely to see all of the new members together for a final time. We left the halls Saturday morning, all exhausted from our hard work.

I look forward to returning next year to build on my relationships, experiences and knowledge of Theatre to gain the best opportunities in the future!

1 comment:

  1. Falch dy fod wedi mwynhau ac wedi dysgu llawer. Ddim am wneud sylwadau ar safon dy iaith, na chwaith ar y sylw dy fod yn 'mynd' i gael guitar am dy benblwydd!
    Ond hoffwn i hefyd ddiolch i'r bobl a'th gefnogodd, yn arbennig Eglwys Efengylaidd Caerdydd, Ysgol Plasmawr a Telesgop (diolch Elin)