A production is not just about "treading the boards"; putting on a play needs a wide variety of skills and usually more backstage and front of house staff than there are cast on stage!
The normal course of a production is:
Regular rehearsals in the Ritchie Hall on Tuesdays starting at 7.30pm.
Usually a second rehearsal in a cast member's home on Thursdays, concentrating on the script.
Planning commences for the NEXT production, including a read through of the chosen play, perhaps at an evening party, followed by auditions, usually before the set building weekends.
Two weekends before the run devoted to set building at the Ritchie Hall, with a technical and first dress rehearsal on second of the two Sundays
The week of the production; dress rehearsal on Tuesday, invited audience of senior citizens on Wednesday, and three nights for the members of the public. Pantomime has a longer performance run
After production party at the Ritchie Hall immediately following the last night.
Strike the set and clear up the Ritchie Hall on the Sunday morning.
There are three key activities that are required for a successful performance:
Recently we held a workshop for potential directors, at which several of our more experienced directors talked about their directing style, how they chose plays, went about the difficult task of auditioning and the 101 decisions associated with putting a play on the stage. Marianne, director of Ritual for Dolls and Aladdin, amongst others, produced a useful check list of the logistics required for putting on a play on the Ritchie Hall stage.
Putting on a production involves a lot of people and a great attention to detail.No play could go on stage without backstage: here is a description of the major roles in the backstage crew.
The Stage Manager is responsible for everything that happens backstage during the run. He / she is also consulted during rehearsals to ensure that the backstage sets can be constructed and that scene changes are achievable. The Stage Manager oversees the Set Building weekends where he / she converts the set designs provided by the director into workable sets. As well as building the main sets usually rooms with doors and windows, this can involve building objects as diverse as Crypts, Revolving Doors, Jails and Court Room Benches. The other key activity during the Set Building weekends is painting the backcloths, this involves a designated artist selected from the Company to convert the designs provided by the director to scenery backdrops required for the performances.
The Lighting Director plots the lights with the director to achieve required atmosphere and operates lights during the run. The Lighting Director has a computerised lighting system that can operate up to 24 analogue lamps, infinate DMX lamps with 5 full colour controllers, 8 minispots and up to 8 on stage specials (e.g mirror ball, table lamps). He / she can be called upon to develop special lighting effects. He also has access to a projector that can project moving and still images onto a screen or the tabs.
The Sound Director provides sound effects and music. This is a particularly busy role during the Pantomime when numerous backing tracks and sound effects are required. The Sound Director has a main amplifier, and a laptop loaded with 'Sound Cue System (SCS)'.
Props (Property Manager) works during the rehearsal period to source items and set dressing, and is backstage during run to move and supply props during course of the play. This is a particularly busy role during the Pantomime when a substantial number of humorous objects and peculiar set dressing are required.
The Production Assistant is the director's "right hand person". The Production Assistant is with the director at all rehearsals, making notes of moves, changes to script and tasks to be completed. He / she prompts the cast as they learn their lines and runs the Prompt Corner during the performances.
As we've been putting on plays for 30 years, we've accumulated quite a lot of costumes! Our Wardrobe Mistress constantly amazes us by taking an unpromising piece of material and producing an absolutely hideous garment for the Dame or a beautiful ball gown for the Princess.
She is expert at recycling too, and last year's Elizabethan style can turn to Fairy Tale to Medieval to Carolinian in what seems like the drop of a hat. Of course, it's not really that easy, and takes a lot of time to dress a large cast.
Recently, we've done quite a few plays which have required costume too, several of which have required uniforms.
We do hire our costumes from time to time, so please contact us
This is a vital function of theatre - there's no point in putting on a production if you have no one to look after the audience! We like to have three or four people on the rota each night of a production: selling raffle tickets and programmes, showing people to their seats, taking orders for interval refreshments, as well as someone at the door to sell tickets.
Our pantomimes are enlivened by chorus members in costume (and character) selling raffle tickets, with full houses every night more staff are required.
It's hard work, especially for pantomime, and you can be on the go all evening, sorting out the raffle tickets, laying out and making the refreshments, and answering 101 questions from the audience.
We appoint a FOH manager for each production, who then organises the rota for the others, and works with the Treasurer and the Business Manager to make sure things run smoothly.
Last saved: February, 2016