Contemporary Performance Practice Collaborations 2017
CPP Collaborations contain performances from all CPP year groups.
First, we had performances from three different groups of CPP3 students. There was one showing of each performance, with a one day venue turnaround in between groups. All of these groups used the traditional end on & seating bank set up of the venue. Each group had 4 tech sessions - including a dress rehearsal - to make their show happen!
We then had a performance from the full CPP2 year group. We had a one day venue turnaround plus a focus session for this.
The piece was in the round and once the space was set up they required very little tech support, meaning the group had two days of rehearsals in the CST. There were two performances of this piece.
Finally, we had performances from three different groups of CPP1 students which were directed by CPP4 students. There was a one session venue turnaround in between each group, and four tech sessions per group. The first group used the seating bank, the second was in traverse and the third was end on with the audience on deck rather than the seating bank.
The Production team was formed of PTM students from all year groups plus two externals.
Back - front, left - right:
Andrew Johnston, Adlai Faigen, James Hamilton, Andrew Jackson
Callum Farrell, Jamie McQueen, Miranda Stewart, Daryl Campbell, Fee Dalgleish, David McKay
Malcolm Rogan (external), Poppy Apter, Stephen Keenan, Jazz Hutsby (external)
The production team changed slightly after the CPP3 performances. Although the HOD's stayed the same, the rest of team swapped departments and we gained some additional members. Our lighting designer also changed from Ross McCrone to Stephen Keenan. Ross is sadly not in the above picture as it was taken after he had left us to LD the ballet showcase. We were joined for the final two weeks of the process by David who was on work experience with us.
Although there are roles and departments allocated, the only way for CPP to work is for everyone to be happy to pitch in with all different departments!
CPP Collaborations 2017 In Numbers
11th May - 8th June 2017
Number of Different Shows
Total Number of Performances
Total Number of Performers
Total Number of Risk Assessments
The role of stage manager on CPP is very different to that of a more traditional production. The main duties of the SM are risk assessments, time management and floor management, as well as being the main channel of communication between the different technical departments, the cast and the directors.
The stage management team does very little propping or sitting in rehearsals. It is important to go to some sharings to get a feel for the piece and to understand the risks, however sitting in rehearsals for longer than a sharing is not a particularly productive way to spend time & often makes the CPP performers feel uncomfortable.
Technical Stage Management
Over the course of mid April to the middle of June we worked on seven different shows. Each group has different set ups and requirements for their shows. I worked with CPP thirds years first, then 2nd years who were joined by external members of the public and finally by fourth year CPP students who were directing first years. Underneath each show requirement you can find an attached PDF ground plan. The role of TSM on the CPP shows is rather different to a normal TSM role. CPP works like a festival set up. Often you will be preparing all the set/rigging elements for a show and briefing the crew on the fit up. Then you can find yourself at various meetings and sharing to prepare for the incoming groups while your crew can be fitting up/teching/rehearsing in the venue. Often you will be passing on show cues to the crew rather than yourself as you will be consumed with vectorworks, risk assessments and other paperwork for the next groups.
The first group wanted to turn the Chandler white. This was done by laying down 20 sheets of MDF and painting it white. They also used a white cyc which we hung as the exact length of the floor. The cyc was brought out onto the floor to create an effect like they were floating together. We rigged some scaffold bars in the wing space using flange clamps, this was for gauze to be hung on to create wings. This group had a few objects that dropped such as coats and apples, this was taken on by the crew to do by hand during the shows. The seating bank was used.
The second group had the Chandler painted all black and the brick walls exposed. There was four steel deck platforms at various heights (800mm, 1200mm and 1500mm). Two of these were covered with plastic sheeting and scaffold poles to create and industrial/building site feel. This group had a sequence in which rubber life sized dolls were to descend and ascend again. This was done with fishing wire, swing cheek pulleys and miniature bull dog clips. We used lots of washers taped together with black LX to create small weights for this effect. This group used chalk spray to graffiti the back wall, which we struggled to clean off even though it said it would be water soluble. Top Tip - Have paint available to paint over it with, which is what we had to do.
The third group wanted to explore love, so naturally wanted the Chandler to turn pink. We used the 20 MDF sheets from CPP3 Group A, and painted it pink. They also used the white cyc in the same set up. However we also built a ground row as LX were using floor fixtures. There was a scaffold bar that was designed to be hung from and then to fly in to become a swing, however they group decided they just wished to use it to hang so that became something that was just deadhung. Top Tip - Prepare for things in CPP to change alot more than any other production.
The 2nd years wanted to explore the act of dancing in a group and requested that they have the maximum amount of time available to them in the venue. Their piece took place in a circle with 8 X 4 steel deck surrounding them. On some decks there was an additional second level. No chairs were used here and the audience sat upon the decks. The LX designer wanted to build a LX square truss as part of the show took inspiration from the legendary Sub Club. This was done with 4 Loadguard. We slung strops around the highest levels on the catwalks then used 3 1/4 T shackles to attach to the hook of the motors. The truss was made up of a 3000mm and 500mm sections on each side. The power and control was run up and along the catwalks.
This group had requested use of the Opera 2 set to fit in with their piece. So we managed to used the flooring and a set of bespoke treads. The tabs were used to create a black box space. The group borrowed wigs and costume from RCS so the entire piece looked rather royal. The seating bank was used.
This group wanted to use traverse as their playing space. They were set up from the back wall to the seating bank. There was a row of chairs then a row of steel deck with chairs on it. This group had the exposed Chandler with no wings space. The walls and floor was black. On the floor I painted a space of 4500 X 12000 mm solid black. This was lined with white LX tape into five sections as lanes, as the group do the beep test, which involves insurance running.
Our final group was called The Big Freeze so as you can imagine wanted the Chandler to look like an Arctic landscape. We painted MDF sheets white. The group created a hung projection screen out of material I can only describe as wool like. They had a snow drop that was done via crew on the catwalks and they wanted to use plastic cut up bags to create the show. The seating bank was put away and instead there was a row of chairs on the floor, then two sets of steel deck (200mm and 400mm) each with their own respective row. This group used the black tabs as wings.
How to Build a Chandler Control Desk
For some of the CPP shows this year, the LX team wanted to operate from the seating bank. Unlike in the Ath, no pre-made control desks are kept in the building, so this is how our DTSM constructed one.
2 x 800mm scaff legs
2 x 1000mm scaff legs
4 x 1400mm scaff pipes (or whatever width is required)
2 x 600mm scaff pipes
16 x T-join kee clamps (or similar)
Wooden Table Top (pre-prepared and somewhere in the dock)
1. Build a U shaped frame from your 800 legs, two clamps, and one length of your 1400mm pipe. Repeat, but this time with your 1000mm legs.
2. Attach two clamps to either side of your two 600mm lengths, and slide onto your U sections, from the bottom. These will butt up to the clamps at the top and form a table.
3. Attach two clamps to either end of your remaining scaff and slide these onto the table, again from the bottom. It works best to do the two shorter ends first, as these will have to fit over the seating bank chairs.
4. Once all clamps are tightened your structure is ready for installation. When in position, use the holes in the top board to feed through a ratchet strap and tighten for extra stability. If slightly uneven, use wooden packers to build it up to desired height.
The electrics department was put under a lot of pressure during the allocation. The turnarounds were tight, with big change overs and some complex plans coming to fruition. Ross McCrone and Stephen Keenan produced stunning designs for every show.
CPP2 LX Plan
CPP1/4 Group A LX Plan
CPP1/4 Group B LX Plan
CPP1/4 Group C LX Plan
CPP 3 Group A
The CPP shows proved a challenge in the Sound Department as there were elements constantly changing between each of the seven shows. Whether it was PA system requirements, mic'ing choices or even noise levels, something was always up with the sound team.
Group A - Birds I View
As this was the first show of the month long CPP run, the first task was to determine the control position for the desk to be situated for the performances. As there is no actual FOH position for sound, the best choice was to move the Yamaha LS9 from the control room to opposite of the catwalk on the gantry which still not the best place, but gave a much better indication as to what was being produced on stage.
The PA set-up for 'Birds I View' consisted of four Tannoy V12s as the FOH top hanging from catwalk 2, and for the Subs, I set up 2 Tannoy T40Rs underneath the seating bank. The 2 remaining V12s in stock were used as foldback set up on the opposite side of catwalk 2. The performers wanted to feel as immersed in the sound as possible, so with one on either side of the stage on the ground, I had D&b Max12s generating extra sound into the performers space. The Max12s were powered using D&b D6 amp. (Excluding the Max12s, this
PA set-up was used for the rest of the CPP3 shows)
There were four Shure SM58s used in the performance, one for each of the performers. Two of the mics were hooked up to loop pedals (1 belonging to cast, 1 hired in) in order to create soundscapes during the performance. To achieve the optimum sound level from the pedals, their mic sensitivity levels had to be raised, which for the actual shows proved a challenge on the desk to prevent the microphones from feeding back, through constant level monitoring, EQ and gate control.
Group B - Church of the Poisoned Mind
Group B had requested for 3 microphones to be lowered from the catwalks to the raised platforms onstage. I clove hitched each mic's XLR to the desired positions on catw
alk 3 and set the deads for each mic so they would drop into the exact same positions for every performance. Three Shure 87Cs handheld radio transmitters were also used, each one designated to a single cast member allowing me to set permanent levels for them with only alterations during the show.
The Qlab file consisted of licensed music and also original music composed by one of the members of cast. There was slight pressure with this, when a decision had been made for the majority sound levels to be changed shortly prior to the final dress before the actual performance. Fortunately, everything was remedied in time, and bar a couple of errors, the final show ran smoothly.
Group C - The Pains of Being Pink at Heart
'The Pains of Being Pink at Heart' had a much simpler set-up with only playback required. An SM58 and a Handheld were set up initially with the expectation there would be use for them, but they were scrapped by the time the performers were in the Chandler. For the tech and the first dress, I ran lines from the desk down to seating bank to be able to monitor and control the Qlab levels from FOH which helped set the final levels quicker and brought a better flow to the production process for me personally.
Before History, We Danced
For the CPP2 show, the setting was that of a night club and the audio was reflect the same vibe by having the sound cover the entire room. As the seating for this was in the round and the centre catwalk bars were unusable due to the LX Truss structure to be put in place there, I had to completely change my PA set-up. For this, I used four D&b E9 tops on tripods, one placed in each corner of the Chandler, slightly offset into the wings. For subs, I used two D&b C7 subs placed next to the DSR & USL fire exits (not obstructing). The whole was powered off D&b Epac amplifiers which were set-up next to the LS9 in the control position.
One of the performers was also DJ'ing in the show and therefore needed their rig hooked up to the PA. This was done using the L&R jack outputs from the back of the decks and DI'ing both into the stage inputs, to the desk then out through the PA.
Group A - Balls
For 'Balls' the seating reverted back to the seating bank, as did the PA, except for the T40Rs which were now situated in centre of catwalk 2, which had less intensity than under the seating bank, but still brought a tight sound to the performance. Like two shows previous, only playback was required and was easily set up.
Group B - The Exercism
The seating plan was changed once again, this time to traverse. Three V12s were rigged to both sides of catwalk 2, spread Stage left, Centre and Stage right. The subs were separated so both were to designated to
sit above one of the two seating banks.
Microphones were reintroduced for this performance. An SM58 was set up for vocals, and a Shure Beta 57 for the piano accompanying the vocals. With the Beta 57 set centre above the open top upright, the sound came out well balanced with only some mid-range harshness taken out with the parametric EQ. The piano/vocal was used by two performers with two very different styles of singing, so the fader level for the 58 set in position to suited best and compression was added where necessary.
Group C - The Big Freeze
'The Big Freeze' was overall the tech heaviest show of the run. Two handheld were used during various parts of the performance, proving difficult at first as to when exactly they were needed during tech. There was also an SM58 that permanently situated in the tent on the stage that also, with minimum information from the director, was not fully known when it was to be in use. The show was also Qlab heavy, and took a few alterations in rehearsals before they were at optimum levels for the full performances.
There was also a live face time feed with audio, so a mini-jack to phono was connected from the Laptop running the application to 2 DIs with XLR connection sent to the desk.|-