2020 was another busy term for the stage management students and production department, with eight shows in five weeks plus specialist lectures, workshops and backstage tours, there's never a dull moment!
First year students were busy on their workshop productions of Wasted, The Witch of Walkern and Urinetown before they went straight on to have Assistant Stage Manager roles on their spring season of shows, and then putting together their design and technical installation which was in our Patricia Yardley Studio in the summer term. They had already assistant stage-managed two shows each in the 2019/20 academic year, in a variety of roles staged in professional theatres in the city...there's no such thing as a slow start on the Stage Management course!
Second year students tried out their developing stage management skills in various workshops, whilst also being either a Deputy Stage Manager or creative assistant on spring season shows, all whilst doing the art administration which took them to see Asking for it at The Rep.
Third year students were also working together on their final project; a puzzle game type experience called A Constant Dilemma. They were also busy on their industry placements and responsible for stage managing their own team on one of the spring season shows.
We had Trelawny of the Wells and Nosferatu at The Old Rep for our spring season rehearsals and Born Bad at The Patrick Studio (Birmingham Hippodrome), as well as collaboratively working with RBC's Vocal and Operatic Department on The Enchanted Island; an Opera which took us to The Engine Room (an old munitions factory in the Jewellery Quarter) for the first time. We were delighted to welcome back a couple of graduates employed as Deputy Stage Managers who supported some of these shows, and as a production team, we also welcomed our new Production Assistant Claire D’Angelo to the full-time staff team.
For the spring shows, costumes were fitted, sets were built and painted and props were researched and sent into rehearsals. No two seasons are ever the same; this season we had multipurpose coffins, around 30 pieces of furniture in one rehearsal room, and even some food cooking onstage during a show...nothing surprises us anymore! Specialist lectures on the course included special effects make-up, wigs, first-aid and fire marshalling, as well as visits from industry experts Equity and The Stage Management Association.