Simon Franklin is the Technical Manager at Swindon Theatres, who joins the team for his third Wyvern Theatre pantomime. Simon took time out of his busy schedule to give us an insight into what it takes for theatre technicians to bring a pantomime to the stage.
The Swindon Theatres technical team have been hard at work building the set for Wyvern Theatre’s 2015 pantomime, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Can you talk us through the process?
Well, the first steps are to work out what the set is made up of, cloths flats, trucked items and props. We work out what we need and can fit into the building. Then we plan how it will all work together in line with the script and directors vision. Lighting is designed by the Lighting designer who is in communication with Director. We then hire in extra equipment and additional stock and plan how this will all be put together. We also have to make sure items like gobo’s, gel and tape are in stock as per the lighting designer requirements. This goes the same for the sound, the sound designer will let us know what and how he envisions the set up to be. And we hire in and put together everything before he arrives.
How many technicians does it take to brings all of this together?
It takes a crew of 16 three days to do the initial ‘get-in’ and then we went to a show crew and extras of about 12 for this till opening weekend which is 9 crew to run the show.
And how long does this all take?
I start prepping panto in the summer, then by October all items for panto are booked for hire or purchased ready to arrive on the Sunday fit up day. I have several meetings with Daryl Back (Producer) to work out set, hanging plot and scheduling of cast and technical days.We then have 3 long days to put set, lighting and sound together before the cast arrive on stage to start a technical rehearsal. We do 3 x 14 hour days to get everything ready, then 3 x 14 hours days of rehearsals before we open on the Saturday.
Check out this video for our pantomime set-build at super speed, reduced to 5 minutes!