Bradford students take centre-stage as they link with Ilkley Playhouse theatre (From Wharfedale Observer)
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Bradford students take centre-stage as they link with Ilkley Playhouse theatre
7:01am Monday 14th July 2014 in News
A collaboration between Bradford College and Ilkley Playhouse will see students' work becoming part of a major new stage show, and help them get to grips with life in the theatre world.
When the playhouse stages Ken Ludwig's "Shakespeare in Hollywood" from tomorrow (Wednesday) it will be using sets, costumes and masks created by pupils studying the college's Production Arts course.
It is the first time the college students will see their hard work on the stage of a theatre company, and the collaboration has been so successful it could become an annual thing.
The two year course, which only started last academic year, covers all areas of production in film, theatre, television and performing arts, and aspects of the course include costume design and stage management. Although pupils studying on the course regularly work on "live briefs" and theatre groups, the project with Ilkley Playhouse is the biggest they have tackled yet. While preparing for the performance the students have learned valuable skills such as keeping to budget and meeting tight deadlines.
The Playhouse collaboration has seen twelve first year students design the set for the production of Shakespeare in Hollywood, and four, second year students design and make costumes for key characters within the production.
The course is currently in its second year, and the first cohort of students is soon to graduate and move on to other things. Several of them are planning to study for a further year to gain a BA (Hons) in subjects such as Special Make-Up Effects and Artistry; Animatronics; Animation; Production Management and Set Design.
Shakespeare in Hollywood offers a fictional take of the production and filming of Max Reinhardt's A Midsummer Night's Dream by Warner Bros film studio in the 1930s. It adds a twist by having some of the play's supernatural characters - Oberon and Puck, appear to wreck havoc and cause the romantic chaos they are known for in the play in the age of dashing actors and Hollywood starlets.
The nature of the play means that the college students had to mix old school Hollywood with fantastical images, such as an asses head and fairy folk.
The sets they designed had to represent places such as Jack Warner's office and the Warner Bros film studio, as well as a "magical" forest and Athenian temple.
The students were first given their brief in February, and have been working on the designs alongside other projects.
Damien O'Keeffe, curriculum leader for the Production Arts module at Bradford College said: "The college was approached by Ilkley Playhouse about the possibility of designing a set, and on the back of that we got the opportunity to design the costumes of two of the principle characters.
"They have done designs for plays in the College before, but not for an outside organisation. The students came up with designs which they showed to the theatre, and then came up with a design that amalgamated a final chosen design.
"They had regular meetings, costume fittings and visits to the Playhouse. It was such a confidence boost for them, and it opened up avenues that they probably weren't aware existed. It is better than just learning in a classroom because you have to deal with real life pressures and deadlines. If they were just doing it for a college show I don't think they'd be putting as much attention to detail into everything. Knowing people are paying to come and see this means they are putting extra care into everything.
"The Playhouse is very pleased with the result, and now want our students to do design work on one production a year. It is great because it is real life experience."
After the play is over the costumes will go into the Playhouse's costume storage for possible future use.
Next month the Playhouse's production, including the students' sets and costumes, moves to the Oriel Plas Glyn-y-Weddw Arts Centre in Pwllheli for a five day run.
The play runs at the Ilkley Playhouse for 10 days from tomorrow to Saturday July 19 (not on Sundays) at 7.30pm
Tickets cost £9 and are available by calling 01943 609539 or visiting http://www.ilkleyplayhouse.co.uk/index.php