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Students reveal life behind the curtain at first Technical Theatre Expo

19th April 2017

Over 20 level 3 production arts students from City College Norwich unveiled a series of interactive exhibits that gave guests a taste of what life is like behind the curtain of live theatre, performance and events at their first Technical Arts Expo (TXPO) on Tuesday 18th April.

The event, which took place in Stage Two at Norwich Theatre Royal, featured a variety of demonstrations, art installations, live music and performances throughout the evening. Each exhibit was based on one of the wide range of disciplines associated with production arts such as sound, lighting, stage management, scenic automation and set, prop and costume design.

Among the exhibition pieces were a handmade Lord of the Rings style helmet; a scaled down automated model of a West End production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street and even a scaled down projection mapped car. There were also live music and acting performances from the college’s performing arts students with production arts students producing all lighting and sound.

Students were given 2 months to plan, design and create their pieces as part of their final year dissertations which allowed them to explore their chosen area of specialism in further detail. Their exhibits will contribute to their overall final grades.

Among those exhibiting their work was Calum Walker, 18, from Lowestoft. Calum designed a scaled down building with an interactive projection mapped light show which was projected on to the front of his model. Calum said:
“Exhibiting my work at this event was interesting and a bit different as we never really get the chance to show people what we do. When you work in theatre or events I think a lot of emphasis goes to the main show and not particularly to the people who are working on the technical side of things so it has been great to show off our creative abilities.”

Fay Bishop, 18, from Beccles, worked with fellow students Susie Clarke, Matt Freeman, Seth James and Jamie Webb to create a scaled down automated model of the past and present set of the West End production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Each student used their knowledge from their chosen areas of specialism in automation, set design, mechanics and stage management to design and present the piece as a revolving model which displayed two different sets. Fay said:
“My dissertation was on the recontextualisation of a play so I chose to focus on how the original set of the production of Sweeney Todd would evolve overtime if it were to be updated to the modern day. I’m so happy that I got to exhibit my work and I’ve really enjoyed watching all of our group’s ideas come together. The project provided lots of challenges that we worked together to overcome but I’m really pleased with the way that it turned out.”

Rich Hill, Production Arts Course Leader, City College Norwich said:
“Production arts is an extremely creative and varied career path that is responsible for every aspect of a gig, event or show except for the performing itself. The students worked so hard on their exhibition pieces which showed the wide range of skills required to be successful in this industry. We thoroughly enjoyed hosting the event and it has been great to be able to showcase the talents of our students.”