Day four was the final day of the Backstage Pass experience, and was production day! The focus of the day was therefore preparing for the afternoon performance of a scene from The Tempest.
Following a final briefing from the director, Alex, the students divided quickly into their groups to prepare for the tech rehearsal. Costume worked alongside the actors, doing final fittings and make up. India had taken responsibility for Miranda’s costume, and was delighted to see the Jenny, the actor, wearing it on stage. Fran and the stage management team checked the set and the venue, to ensure all had been properly installed and was a safe working environment, whilst Tom prepared the digital hardware and software needed for this unique performance.
The tech rehearsal was really interesting, if laborious. It was the first opportunity for all the different elements of a production to be brought together, including digital, set, props, costume, lighting and sound. It is also when the stage management team write the final cues into the production book, so the DSM can run the show. As time passed, the sense of mounting pressure was clear, as all preparations had to be ready in time for the afternoon. Even with people working through lunch, the decision was taken not to run a dress rehearsal: things were getting tense!
When the time came, though, all was in place, and at 3.30pm, the front of house team opened the doors for this one off event, and the gathered audience entered: The students were staging an RSC production! It was incredible to see the absolute professionalism of all the students involved. Fran was excellent as stage management, moving set pieces on cue and unobtrusively. India’s costume looked amazing, and really fit the brief she was given. Jenny, the actor, found it comfortable and practical for the role. The play opened with projections created by Tom, including an avatar of him that was created earlier in the week with a motion capture suit. The images that followed were stunning, and really added to the dark atmosphere of the scene.
This was the first time the RSC had run Backstage Pass, and they were clearly delighted with the outcome. The feedback they gave was glowing – the students had been outstanding. Even clearer was the impact the experience had had on the students involved: all had grown in confidence and understanding, all had achieved something incredible. Tom said, “Amazing! A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Creating and editing the effects was the best part and it all came to life on the final day when we got to use our new skills on the RSC cast in the first scene from the Tempest.”
Fran added, “No words can describe how incredible and amazing this week has been. I have had so many exciting opportunities that have left me speechless – just wow!!”
India said, “I’ve loved every minute of it, and learned so much. I have made great new friends and had brilliant experiences. Thank you RSC!”
Sam Colborne, Leader of Learning for Creative Arts, concluded, “This has been such an incredible experience for us all, particularly the students. The generosity of the RSC has been overwhelming: they have given the students such opportunities and treated them as professionals. It has been fantastic to see the impact this has had on our students, and they have really done us proud.”
(Featured Image above: Fran stage managing in front of avatar of Tom during technical rehearsal)
Image Below: Miranda wearing India’s costume in tech rehearsal
Image Below: Technical Rehearsal