Theatre Design students get backstage access to some of the West End’s biggest productions

On their annual trip to London, students had stage tours of Hamilton, Les Misérables and The Phantom of the Opera

The students behind the scenes of Les Misérables
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The students behind the scenes of Les Misérables

Students on our BA (Hons) Theatre Design course gained exclusive behind the scenes access to some of the West End’s biggest productions on a study trip to London this February. Spanning first and second year, the trip was led by Theatre Design lecturer Totie Driver, who was able to arrange backstage access and stage tours for three blockbuster productions: Hamilton, Les Misérables and The Phantom of The Opera.

Totie has previously worked with renowned Theatrical Producer Cameron Macintosh and Production Manager Chris Boone, and so was able to generate this brilliant opportunity. Chris gave the students an engaging and very real insight to his role as Production Manager working across the world on stage productions. He discussed the use of stage technologies, and demonstrated tech checks, resets, saw props and costumes.

The students behind the scenes of Les Misérables
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The students behind the scenes of Les Misérables

The students got to go onstage and check out the mechanics in between the matinee and evening shows. A particular highlight was getting to stand on the revolving stage at Les Misérables whilst it was moving! The students were able to see the backstage world close up, which sparked discussions around the role of the designer at this level of producing, talking about materials, budgets, new technologies and the all-important timelines.

Whilst in London the group also paid a visit to the National Theatre to see current exhibition Playing With Scale: How Designers Use Set Models, a fascinatingly-presented reflection on the designer process and the use of models as a design tool; an invaluable exhibition particularly for the first year students.

Theatre Design students get backstage access to some of the West End’s biggest productions

Published on 12 February 2019
  • Subject area: Art and design
  • Category: Current students; School of Art & Design

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