After more than 25 years of building scenery in an old un-air conditioned elementary school in the East Bottoms, moving day arrived on June 20, 2011. This wasn’t any ordinary move where everything could be packed up in cardboard boxes…this move involved moving 500 pound tools that needed four people to lift them!!!
The past two weeks for the Production Department and the IATSE carpenters were quite busy. The first step was for the construction crew at the Production Center to complete the scene shop area so it was ready for move-in. The construction crew started this task on May 23, and completed it in five weeks!!! Once the construction crew gave us the go-ahead, our scenic artists came in over the weekend and painted the floor. They needed to do this first because once the IATSE carpenters move everything in; there will never be clear floor space again.
The next task was to pack up the Old Shop. As I mentioned, this has been home for over 25 years and the space has accumulated many items: large tools, hand tools, lumber of all kinds, foam, and scraps of everything. There is a process of moving and sorting…What is essential in the new building? Is this lumber even straight any more? Should we move it?
For years before this move, Keith Brumley worked with the IATSE carpenters to determine the best layout of the new space. This needed to be done in advance so they could be certain that the appropriate power and dust collection was wired and mounted in the correct spots. After everything was moved to the new space, there was little time to play. We immediately needed to start building the Turandot scenery for our opening on October 1, 2011.
Steve Cochran has built scenery with the Lyric Opera of Kansas City for about 15 years. One of his specialties is projects that require a steady hand and a lot of patience. Each one of the curves on the roof header that he is holding is cut individually with a saber saw.
Our head carpenter that has built with us for almost 30 years, Jim Corcoran, stands in front of a very large wall for Turandot – on it’s side. You can see the wheels on the right side of the picture. When you stand this wall up, it is 18 feet tall, and very sturdy!!! The crew is building 4 of these walls and they are the building blocks of the Turandot set.
Next week I will be back looking at the space we will be painting this large scenery in, and the artists that do this crafty work.