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40 shows in 3 weeks….. Bring it on!

May 29, 2014

On my course the first big season is ETA finals. It’s spoken about from day 1 as our first big test, a slight fear surrounds it but you think ‘Oh May is so far away’ and then all of a sudden it’s upon you and then over. It’s a completely different experience to anything else I’ve done and not something I particularly want to go through again in a rush.

So what is ETA finals? ETA is European Theatre Arts and the third year students have to devise a 20 minute performance and then read out a 10 minute long essay. There is 40 something students and only a few of them paired up to create a show together so we had approximately 43 shows to prepare, load, tech and perform in 3 weeks. Each of the first year stage managers gets assigned 2 shows that they have to look after; so you attend rehearsals, run technical rehearsals, source props and set, and cue the show if required. The shows and crew were split into two venues so we had a team of 11 for approximately 22 shows.

The weeks all ran the same way. Monday is the get in so all the shows that week would collect their props and set and place it backstage. While this was going on the lighting and sound departments would be rigging and focusing in the venue. On the Tuesday and Wednesday we would tech and dress the shows; normally there would be 4 or 5 techs per a day in the order they would be performed on the Thursday and Friday.

It doesn’t seem too complicated, and it wasn’t at times, but ETA students like to do crazy things such as be buried in sand, rip a pig’s heart out of their chest, and have the audience throw bread at each other. All of these and many more scenarios meant that the half hour turnarounds had their challenges at times. However they also meant it was a fun and varied period with lots of different tasks and strange requests.

Overall it was a really good experience; the rose team worked really well together and still managed to have fun. I just hope next year’s 1st years listen to us and actually believe that it sneaks up on you without warning!07C1914CE0D59365C3F7FDF2AEAED9A9


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