Shakespeare in Queens Park - A Unique Production Process
The USQ Performance Centre is proud to present Toowoomba with their production of Hamlet. Set within the environment of Queen's Park under its grand Camphor Laurel trees, this event is made more spectacular by the involvement of community groups and schools. Much time and effort has been placed to produce this show and hundreds of dedicated paid and voluntary personnel have collaborated to make Shakespeare in Queens Park a success. The performance that Toowoomba will be presented with has needed the expertise of industry specialists including:
Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager;
Actors and performers;
Publicity and Marketing staff;
Box Office and Front-of-House staff;
Costume, Lighting and Set Designers;
Technical staff including welders and carpenters;
Sound, board and dome operators; and
Administration and financial coordinators.
This list is by no means exhaustive and there are many other roles that have been facilitated since pre-production commenced (over six months previously). To give some idea about how much work is involved in putting on a production of this scale the following questions were asked of some key personnel:
Jamie Tanner - Lighting Designer
What considerations have you had to make for this show?
It has been a bit restrictive in that there are not a lot of really dramatic or special lighting effects that can be done. You need to have the actors lit so they can be seen. Basic, sort of ambient light for specific scenes to help create the atmosphere are required in the design.
How long have you been working on this show?
Well I came back (to uni) about a month before production week to get started, but on this particular show because there are so many people involved and the large scale of this show, there had been a lot of discussion about how much equipment and power will need to be used prior to my presence.
Carolyn Taylor Smith - Wardrobe Supervisor
What is your position on this show?
I am costume maker slash wardrobe supervisor.
What is your role during performances?
I maintain, mend and launder the costumes.
Is there a theme that you're trying to develop through costume?
The world that is being captured is a fantasy one and the costumes are trying to reflect that. They also reflect the characters.
Cheryl Kanowski - Platform Performance Co-ordinator
What does your role involve?
When they (production team) decided to involve the community in late November I was designated as a contact person for the community and school groups. I'm the liaison that connects and informs the community about the project. I schedule all of Alethea's (Platform Performance Director) times with working with the various community groups. I also find particular groups she would like, for example she wants me to find a didgeridoo player. As the performance date gets closer I become the first point of contact for the community performers to filter the mass of important questions and queries which they will have. I've also been asked to do a few things also such as compiling a list of names of those involved for the program and recognition.
How many school and community groups are involved?
We've got over 30 different groups and over 500 individuals. A very diverse range of community groups.
While watching the show, have student's note how lighting and sound effects are used to create atmosphere. Also, have them consider how costume has reflected the characters and the world of the play. Comment on how these there elements of the performance have together produced an overall idea, atmosphere, impression or theme.
Take away one element of the production at a time (ie costuming) and imagine what the production would've been like without it. By doing this, you will hopefully highlight how each element (regardless of how small or large) combines together to produce the overall affect.
Ask the class if there is an idea they have for a show or put a proposal to produce a show of your choice. On the board make five columns titled ‘set/props', ‘personnel', ‘costumes', ‘lighting' and ‘sound'. List all of the thoughts and questions that each heading raise (they don't have to necessarily be answered but by doing so more may be raised). By the conclusion of this activity there should be a very full board and a realisation of the work involved in putting on a show.