Building the set

  • The model

    A key part of the set for A Mad World My Masters is the truck. This is a moving piece of scenery with four sides, which is turned around, to represent four different locations: Sir Bounteous Peersucker's hallway, the front door to the Littledick's house, the entrance to the Flamingo Club and the Mocha Café.

    Pictured is the model of the truck, taken from the model box. Built by the designer, Alice Power, the model box is a scaled down model of the set which our workshops then use to build the set itself.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Plans

    Once a set has been designed, our Drawing Office puts together detailed plans showing the measurements and materials for each piece of scenery.

    The steel frame and the outside cladding of the A Mad World My Masters truck was built early in the rehearsal process, so it could be taken into rehearsals for the actors to practise working with it.

    Then it was returned to our workshops in Stratford-upon-Avon to be modified and finished. This involved consulting the original plans which include adding the finer detail and painting it to look as Alice, the designer intended.

    Read about how the truck fared in rehearsals in Ben Deery's blog.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Fine detail

    Brian Robbins in our Scenic Workshop uses a band saw to cut out a wooden disc, part of the finer detail for the A Mad World My Masters truck.

    The truck is built on pneumatic casters, so when a button is pressed, it lifts up and moves into place. If you press the button again, it drops down.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Panel cutting

    Dave Dewhurst in our Scenic Workshop, cutting a panel for the truck.

    Pulleys inside the truck are used to operate a moving bookcase, inside Sir Bounteous Peersucker's hallway.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • measuring up

    Although all parts of the truck were carefully measured when the frame was first put together, after it has returned from rehearsals, every measurement is checked again, to make sure that everything will fit, before the final parts are added.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Problem solving

    The truck has to be durable – it will need to last for more than 60 performances. It needs to be easy to put together and take apart, and it needs to be small enough to fit through the corridors at the Swan Theatre.

    A Mad World My Masters will play in repertoire in the Swan Theatre with Titus Andronicus and Candide, so the scenery also needs to be easy to store when the other productions are on. To deal with this problem, the truck was built so that it collapses into four flats, which can be easily stored.

    Actors will need to move the truck around, so it is built on wheels which need to run silently on the wooden floor of the set.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Window

    Julia Wade, who is in charge of the props for A Mad World My Masters, stands inside the truck, looking out through the window of the Littledick's house.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Moving parts

    Inside the truck, Julia makes sure that the moving parts will operate as they should, when the actors come to use the truck in rehearsal and performance.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • In Scenic Workshop

    Work on completing the truck continues in our scenic workshop, after it has returned to Stratford-upon-Avon from rehearsals.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • The Mocha Cafe

    The Mocha Café side of the truck, with its chrome doorway.

    Photo by Stewart Hemley

  • Nearly finished

    The truck is almost finished – all the moving parts are complete. It has now arrived in our Paint Shop in Stratford-upon-Avon for the final decorative touches.

  • In Paint shop

    The opposite two sides of the truck in Paint Shop. From here it will be transported to the rehearsal room, for the actors to continue working with their scenery. Then it will be brought onto the Swan Stage for technical rehearsals, preview performances and finally the opening night.

A Mad World My Masters

by Thomas Middleton

Swan Theatre
6 June - 25 October 2013

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Teaching Shakespeare