Finally, the LIPA Foundation Shows have come to an end.
Comprising three small shows in two venues in LIPA over two weeks, LIPA’s Foundation Shows (photos to come) are the final opportunity for the Foundation Certificate students to showcase themselves and their abilities. I, along with fellow LIPA student Harry Armytage took on the task of production-managing these shows at the very end of the LIPA season. The three shows are devised and all involve external contractors, yet the turnaround between them was tight, so this was a test of our time-management skills and efficiency. I’m proud to say that we pulled off all of the shows successfully (in one case, putting on extra shows due to demand) and leaving all of the directors highly satisfied with the smooth running of the process.
The first show, in the Sennheiser Studio Theatre was to be performed by the Acting Foundation students. The 70-minute piece comprised a number of scenes from more than one story, which threaded through each other and came together at the end. The devised nature of the show put plenty of pressure on our Stage Manager, Johanna as well as our designer, Bobbie. As this show came towards the final stages of the process – technical rehearsal onwards – I began to make the final plans with the director of the show immediately following it: the Singing Foundation show. The get-out for the Acting show and the fit-up for the Singing show was meticulously planned, as there were only two working days between the shows. We were left with the situation of doing a get-out for one show, installing the set for another, and then rigging, focussing, teching and dressing the show all in two days, a task which the technical crew, LD, SX, AV Designer (Laura Lomax), Production Designer, Director and cast rose to fantastically, especially given the disparate nature of the crew (first-year students, external operatives, external director, first-time performers, etc).
The show happened quite smoothly, with the performance being so good that the principal of LIPA, Mark Featherstone-Witty made a rare second appearance in the audience – he sees every LIPA show, but very few of them twice.
During this time, Harry had been devoting his efforts to running the Dance Foundation show in the main LIPA venue, the Paul McCartney auditorium, which was due to open 3 days after the Singing show closed. He oversaw the fit-up and technical rehearsals, while I co-ordinated the show and get-out in the Sennheiser Studio Theatre, after which we joined forces to ensure the smooth running of the largest of the three shows.
The Dance Foundation show followed suit, taking place without any major hitches and left the director so pleased as to commend us for creating the least stressful production process during her time at LIPA – an achievement that we both are proud of.
Now that these shows are out of the way, on to the work placements!