All-local stage set for Chicago

MUSICAL THEATRE SECTION - SC DRAMA LEAGUE - 2007

The set of the South Canterbury Drama League's upcoming production Chicago will be one of the biggest locally designed and built in a number of years.

The six-metres tall by 9.6 metres wide cell block wall will also be the largest piece of flown scenery ever in the Theatre Royal.

In contrast to several previous productions the set is purely locally designed, built and sourced.

Designed by Timaru's Aaron Williams the gigantic set includes a large scaffolding structure as its skeleton, erected by United Scaffolding.

While timber is usually used to build a set, it was decided for this energetic musical the metal scaffolding would be more structurally sound.

A new dance floor which covers the whole stage has also been laid down.

While some sets have just a backing piece on the stage, the Chicago set is three-sided.

Structures such as these are usually found in smaller theatres, but not commonly put on the Theatre Royal stage.

It has taken almost four months to put the large work together. It was moved into the Theatre Royal last weekend.

While just half a dozen men constructed it in the initial stages, a crew of about 25 men have now become surrogate builders to have it completed by Saturday.

An interesting piece of property which will also take to the stage in the production is a glossy black piano painted by panelbeater Stu Jenkins.

Formally an old brown wooden piano beyond salvage, it has been gutted and painted using the same technique as car painting.

Mr Williams said everything was black, so when the lighting was not on the stage there was nothing.

"It was an attempt to make a gigantic set which also disappeared," he laughed.

The show is to open next Saturday, August 4.