Beauty and the Beast at the Liverpool Everyman is a pantomime full of whimsy with a fantastic design by Dinah England.
The paint job on this set really brought it to life. Our team worked on building the set for four weeks at HQ and then the set was shipped off to our workshop in Wales to be painted by a group of top quality painters. The set in itself was a combination of a strong interlocking steel structure to make up the upper level combined with multiple methods of construction for both static and flying flats.
Take a look at the virtual tour here and see if you can find the beast lurking in and around the set!
With a fantastic contrast to the playful A Midsummer Night’s Dreamwe built early in the year, this minimal, contemporary and very striking set designed by Jamie Vartan was a brilliant set to construct.
The design consisted of two settings with a stark contrast to one another. Firstly the clean, crisp and pure Athens with a white seamless setting followed by the dark depths of the forest illuminated by the ever present moon commanding the space.
Producing the huge sparse, seamless flown wall for Athens in conjunction with the four massive revolving columns whilst keeping them all light weight was a challenge. Also due to the sheer size of the moon paint job we decided to build the flats and paint the canvas separately on a paint frame. This also allowed the painter to create the desired effect requested by the designer. Using this method allowed us to roll out the canvas across the built flats and then when separated and brought together in the theatre would still produce a seamless design.
Widely acknowledged to be Noël Coward’s funniest play, set in the lavish home of the actor Garry Essendine during a near mid-life crisis. Simon Higlett has designed a fantastic set, a double height living room space complete with mezzanine level. Splinter were involved in building the entire set from working bay window shutters to the cast iron spiral staircase.
There are many stand out pieces of the Present Laughter set that took a lot of head scratching and man hours to achieve in the Splinter workshop. Constructing a spiral staircase from scratch that had to give the appearance of a cast iron structure was on of them. With a mixture of materials and methods including laser cutting the treads and rolling a steel hand rail we were able to achieve the brief with great success.
Part of the beauty of Present Laughter is not what the audience sees, but the construction methods that have gone into building a set to be able to tour to 5 different venues. Bearing this in mind Splinter built many of the components such as the fireplace, bookcase and doorways and separate items to the walls that would both break up the weight of the set and also making stacking the set in a lorry more efficient.
The key to this design is in the detail. The majority of the work done in the workshop was done by many hands creating a lavish interior design complete with short wood carvings, vac-formed columns and bendy moldings to follow the smooth neo-classical curves of the design.
The Pygmalion set for the Oldham Coliseum was a beautiful design by Michael Holt with some great details, dynamic scene changes & with an overall grand feeling. With three act locations on a relatively small stage Holt had to be inventive with the use of flats that folded out from off stage, hidden trucks & flown pieces to create each act. This is where Splinter came in and worked closely with Holt to produce a set that would work successfully with ease for every show.
The most adaptive elements of the set design were the down stage left & right doorways that were present in every act. Working as the architecture of Covent Garden to start, followed up as a framing device for bookcases for Mr Higgins’ Study and finishing as part of the interior design of the opulent drawing room of Mrs Higgins. This required careful consideration and calculations to allow multiple elements to hinge back and forth with ease and more importantly without colliding with one another. To top this all off the paint finish had to be tied in to work with all three acts without the large set pieces looking fitting in one act and quite alien within another.
Another element of the set included the entirety of Mr Higgins’ Study which was mounted on a truck to be wheeled up and down stage and therefore had to be both practical and lightweight. Finally, the flats for Mrs Higgins’ Drawing Room were all constructed to use different methods to reveal themselves ranging from wheeled pivoted trucks to a large flown Frenchmen flat with flying lines concealed discreetly within the buildup of the structure.