Posted 30 October 2018

Art & architecture Behind the scenes

Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Christmas Carnival

The Guildhall School of Music & Drama student production artists have been commissioned to create a series of installations, inspired by Waddesdon’s collections. Here, they talk us through their progress so far…

Eleisha Brand, Year 2 Video Design for Live Performance
“Working on Waddesdon’s Christmas Carnival projection has been an amazing experience, and I feel extremely lucky to be involved.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Nicholas Wong

As a team, we have created a bespoke eight-minute audio visual show that will be projected onto the French 17th century-style stables at Waddesdon Manor, with winter imagery to celebrate the Christmas period. All of the images used in the show have been gathered from research in the Waddesdon collection, and pictures sent by the curatorial team.

To develop the imagery, I have been digitally cutting out assets from the collection, giving me the chance to develop my skills and familiarise myself with motion graphic software.

Many thanks to the team at Waddesdon Manor for allowing us to create a programme to project onto the wonderful Stables facade. It’s been a huge learning experience that I’m excited to work on every day.”

Nicholas Wong, Year 2 Video Design for Live Performance
“Projecting onto the Waddesdon Stables is a unique challenge due to the shape of the buildings, particularly the huge gap in the middle for the gates. In the past I’ve designed a lot of video content with a central focal point, so I had to totally change my approach for this project.

Visitors can expect to see animated wood carvings that look like flowers, and close-ups of porcelain disguised as a frozen lake. I can’t wait until we’re on site and get to see the final show at full size.”

Nina Thoene, Year 2 Video Design for Live Performance
“My favourite part of this project has been the design process, which involved choosing concepts for each scene in the projection piece. Although we all had varied ideas to begin with, once put together we have created a truly magical storyline.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Nicholas Wong

The entire piece is made up of various items from the Waddesdon collection, ranging from books to fabric designs. The key characters in my section are either the Rothschilds or the poor skater that gets hit with a snowball – I just hope the results make some people laugh!

This has been a fun, collaborative piece of work between myself and the other designers, and I’m really looking forward to seeing our designs come to life.”

Tom Mackey, Year 3 Theatre Technology
“Since being given the opportunity to work on the technical aspect of the LED tunnel installation for this year’s Christmas Carnival, I’ve enjoyed all the challenges and developments in the project through the eyes of both a student and an avid fan of light installations. Being responsible for the technical application, I built a rough model of a section of the tunnel so that the team could have something physical to start developing ideas.

Guildhall School of Music & Drama, Tom Mackay

The main challenge has been working out how to scale my model up to the size of the real thing. We’ve had to find different ways to run the installation while at the Manor, and through trial and error have worked out how to send our video data through.

However, I know that all the hard work everyone has put in will be rewarded tenfold by seeing the lights and audio up and running at Waddesdon.”

Eleanor Coxall, Year 3 Theatre Technology – Sound Designer
“During a visit to Waddesdon earlier this year, we were introduced to items in the collection to inspire the characters and soundscapes used in the Audio Trail. Some examples are paintings of a wintery boat race, and the Ballet de la Nuit costume designs.

After visiting Waddesdon again a couple of weeks ago we have now decided on the location of each ‘statue’ in the trail, and I have been designing and creating the sounds that will accompany it ever since.

We have had to work through various challenges, including deciding which equipment is going to be suitable for a nine-week outdoor installation.”