Intern on the inside: Moving to hackney

Monday 25 February 2013

Testing out elements from The Siege of Calais set at Three Mills Studios.

We’re only one week away from the first opening night and what an intense few weeks it has been at ETO. We have reached the end of our rehearsal process and are now fully immersed in the production period, with Stage and Orchestra rehearsals and Dress Rehearsals lined up for the few days. It has been an interesting experience to learn from the ETO technical team and it has been so rewarding to see all of the different elements come together onstage. I cannot wait for next Saturday night when the company will be able to showcase their first production to a live audience.

Although the technical teams began moving into our first venue, Hackney Empire, on Wednesday, the Stage Management team have also had their hands full juggling rehearsal runs, costume fittings and sitz rehearsals back at 3 Mills Studios. It has been quite a manic couple of days running between rehearsal rooms and the theatre but I have really enjoyed it as I have had the opportunity to see every single aspect of the production process.

Deputy Stage Manager Richard de Vere White backstage at Hackney Empire.

A sitz rehearsal is where the full orchestra and company come together to rehearse for the first time and I can honestly say that it took my breath away to walk into the sitz for Simon Boccanegra. The orchestra, under Michael Rosewell’s direction, literally took my breath away and after four weeks of rehearsing with only a piano, it was fantastic to hear the finale of the Prologue in all its glory. The combination of the beautiful music and incredible singers was overwhelming and it is sure to be a knockout performance onstage.

Of course, it wouldn’t be production week without a fair share of complications and this repertoire is no different. From fire evacuation drills in the snow during a run at 3 Mills Studios to bribing an electrician with cupcakes to fix our broken heater and transporting props and furniture across London, there definitely has not been a dull moment… but I wouldn’t have traded the experience for the world. One of the most interesting duties I’ve had this week was to be a human dummy for the make-up artist to experiment on. One minute I was being caked in mud for The Siege of Calais, and the next having my face painted white for the 18th century piece Cosi fan tutte. It was a very interesting experience and I learnt a lot about how to create desired effects onstage, including realistic wounds, as well as having a lot of fun.

Christina gets muddy as a make-up dummy for The Siege of Calais.

It was absolutely brilliant to sit in the auditorium at Hackney Empire on Friday night and see the company of Cosi fan tutte rehearsing onstage in full costume and make-up alongside a complete orchestra. The set is visually stunning and Samal Blak’s design really gives the impression that you have stepped into another world. I cannot wait for the doors to open next Saturday and to be able to present our work to the public. I have no doubt that the Spring season will be as successful as the company’s previous work and I am thrilled that I have been able to be a part of it. Roll on next week and the premieres of Cosi fan tutte, Simon Boccanegra and The Siege of Calais.

Christina Hostad
Sunday 24th February, 2013

Christina Hostad, a final year student at LAMDA, is currently on a Stage Management placement with ETO.

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