We’ve featured a number of interviews and articles on our whole School production Grease recently, today we look at the role of music in a musical and how literally the entire School are involved in the show.
Looking at musical instrument performance first, working with Claire Weston, our Music Director and Chorus Master for the production, students have been rehearsing alongside teachers who are also involved in the show as part of the pit band. In all musical productions a live band provides the accompanying music to the singing; this is knows as a pit band because the players sit under the stage, in a pit.
Anyone undertaking the role of a pit musician needs to be able to take direction extremely accurately, and for this reason Year 12’s Iris was selected to play in the band. Iris plays a number of instruments but will be playing bass guitar in the production – unlike other roles in a musical production, the pit band isn’t something that can be auditioned for, rather students are selected for their talent and skills and ability to work under precise direction. Iris will be playing alongside a number of teachers from School, providing music for the actors, working with them to ensure the audience are as entertained audibly as they will be visually!
The pit band usually sit hidden from the audience, in a ready-prepared/built area of the stage, however, the performance itself takes place on the stage above, and requires a set to be designed and built to bring the show to life, set the scene (literally) and provide physical pieces to be onstage for the actors to work with and use. Our wonderful theatre hosts its pit band on the balcony above and to the side rather than below, remaining out of direct line of sight for our audience, and actually able to see much of the show which is a real bonus and certainly helps with musical direction and delivery.
This week our School carpenter Allen joined our teachers and theatre technicians to begin building that stage set. Building and designing the set for any theatre performance is a collaborative project that involves every element and person involved in the production. Allen was working hard this week on the bleachers for the sports ground scenes in the show; the stage for one of the most famous songs from Grease – Summer Nights, where we hear the two very different sides of the story of Sandy and Danny’s summer encounter! There is much more work to do and we’re certain Allen (and many other people from School) will be kept extremely busy in the next couple of weeks leading up the the first performance.
We hope you’re able to join us at Seckford Theatre for at least one of the performances which take place from Tuesday 15 to Friday 18 February. Tickets sales have been superb, and the show is almost completely sold out now, but don’t panic if you haven’t got yours yet, it’s just been announced that some last minute tickets will become available for each performance, from 10am on Saturday 4 February! Get your tickets here:www.ticketsource.co.uk/seckfordtheatre