Harrow County School for Boys

The Annual Report of the Back-Stage Divisions of the Dramatic Society, 1963

Throughout the year, work has continued in many fields, but not, as expected, on stage.

Although the main work of the Dramatic Society is, of course, the School Plays, the stage-hand's job is never finished.  Since this time last year, very few people have had any rest.

Every Wednesday afternoon, and quite often well into the evening, work has continued under the able directorship of Mr. Mees, towards a speedy completion of the "Cat-walks," designed to provide fast but safe access to the obscure mechanisms 40 feet above the stage.  This dangerous work, carried out by a mere handful of senior boys, will in the end see the finish to all of this type of work.  We all have great confidence in these workers to do a first rate and practically secure job, with the wrong size nails and pieces of woodworm.

Similarly, nearer ground-level, work has not ceased.  The dangerous and expensive pieces of equipment are now, for the first time, being isolated from interference with removable contraptions.  Also, programmed for the future, is the complete renovation of the Dramatic Society hut which was severley damaged when a road-crash occurred 10 feet above, during which a heavy crane crashed through the school railings and onto the hut.

The school play this year meant more to the stage-staff than just no masters.  It meant no pipe smoke, a complete course in scaffolding construction (the key to the stage extension), and instruction in painting other people's scenery without the owners' knowing.

This and some real hard work was the essence of a masterless dramatic production.  Never let it be said that stage-hands are lazy.  Experiments this year included a play without appreciable scenery, which was very difficult to stage manage, building the stage well into the audience, which had immense constructional problems, and well over half-a-dozen scene changes.

This year also saw the formation of the "Fourteen Foot Book Flat Club," an elite organisation of those members of the Dramatic Society who have knocked over a 14' high book-shaped piece of scenery during a public performance without the audience's knowing.

The Sound Staff this year dreamed up a stereophonic technique for the relaying of "Gods Voice," involving the fast switching through several loud speakers, carefully positioned to obtain the maximum effect, so that the voice came apparently from all round and above the audience.

The lighting staff this year once more proved their worth, not only in the lighting effects but in the superior way in which they followed the actors from long range, with special long range spotlights, situated in the balcony and specially hired for this purpose.

As usual the lighting staff probed themselves invaluable in scene-shifting, post-school-play activities, and, almost in their entirety, in the construction of the cat-walks.

                                                                        S. B. C. (Stephen Clyne?)

Gaytonian 1963

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