Day 2: A week of work experience at The Lowry

This week we’ll be posting a blog every day from Ellie Prime who recently did work experience with us. Read on to find out how it went.

Going Backstage – Ellie Prime

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My backstage tour was on Tuesday and led by Adam, the Technical Manager, who has worked for The Lowry for 15 years – arriving before it even opened in early 2000. For the tour, we started in the medium sized Quays Theatre. I stood on the stage and could see the spot where I had sat, only a couple of months earlier, whilst watching Frantic Assembly’s performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. This was quite a surreal experience. Even though I am used to being on stage due to my interest in drama, I was not prepared for what it felt like to be on such a large professional one! Adam explained to me how all the seats in the stalls are on hydraulics, meaning they can moved in order for the stage to be expanded or completely reshaped – the stage could be end on, theatre-in-the-round or a thrust stage. Adam then took me up to the lighting deck, where the stage lights are hung on bars and pointed onto the stage. A soon-to- be-staged show will send The Lowry their lighting plan; showing where they want the lights hung and all the angles. Adam and his team then arrange the lights according to the plan. They are such pro’s – this only takes them 2 hours!

We then moved onto the Lyric which is the largest theatre in The Lowry. It is currently where Wicked is being performed. Wicked has been touring for almost two years in the UK and Ireland. The Lowry is the last venue on the tour. I was able to see all the costumes for the show and was surprised at how heavy and thick they were. Adam, told me the lights make the stage around 30’C. That seems like hard work, dancing and acting in a thick costume in that heat! I was shown how many of the props are moved along train-like tracks so they glide smoothly onto the stage. Some of the props are hung up because of the lack of room in the wings; above me a cart was hanging from a wire! Adam then took me to see the fly’s (backdrops for the show) which are manually dropped down using ropes and weights through a balancing system. I had a go at pulling the ropes to move a backdrop and it was a lot harder than it looked. Adam then finished my poor effort and made it look so easy!

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