The Official Blog of the
Williamstown Theatre Festival

Thursday, July 7, 2011


It's time for our first changeover video of the season! Over a period of 25 hours, our scenic, props, lighting, sound, production and apprentice crew took down the set for A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE then put up ONE SLIGHT HITCH. Watch as they transform the Nikos stage from New Orleans in 1947 to Cincinnati, Ohio in 1981!

Our Assistant Production Manger of Operations, Kathleen Reinbold, explains a typical changeover:

Changeovers are a 3-4 day process during which the scene shop and paint crew, and occasionally the props crew work round-the-clock in 12-hour shifts to break down the set of the previous show (in this case A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE), recycle or save what they can, and dispose of the rubbish, then load in the pieces of the next set (ONE SLIGHT HITCH), and build and paint it onstage.
Once the set is basically installed, the lighting and sound crews go to work re-hanging and focusing lights, and setting up speakers and running wires. Both the Lighting and Sound Departments have guaranteed periods of 'dark time' for Lighting, so that they can observe the effects of their work in darkness, and 'quiet time' for Sound, so that they can hear their work without background noise. The Scenic and Paint crews and the Lighting and Sound crews' daytime meals are staggered around these times so that work can continue as efficiently as possible.
The crews run from 30-60 people, depending on the amount and type of work to be done, and to help them out and make them feel loved during the stress and work, they receive home-cooked (or, rather, dorm-cooked :) meals. The typical changeover meal schedule looks like this:

Sunday: evening dinner around 8pm
Monday: overnight 'dinner' around 2pm, breakfast around 8am, lunch around 1pm
Tuesday: overnight 'dinner' around 2pm, breakfast around 8am
Wednesday: overnight 'dinner' around 2pm, breakfast around 8am (if further work is necessary)

The Asst. Production Manager in charge of Operations creates the menus and preps the food, then either I or one of the PM or Co. Mgmt interns cooks the meal, assisted by an apprentice, if one is available. We have people prepping food and cooking from 4pm on Sunday straight through to 3pm on Monday, and then from 11pm straight to 10am the rest of the days. Some meals that we've made so far include Sloppy Joes, lemon-pepper chicken, French toast, and chocolate-chip pancakes (a special favorite).

Photo of the day by Clay Barron

The costume shop holds their morning meeting.

No comments:

Post a Comment