Opera is lucky to have a dedicated team of backstage members, who
work together to ensure that our productions achieve the highest
standards of technical support.
Our sets are constructed by members of Park Opera, including Keith
Ward, Bob Moore, Tony Bentley, John Marshall, Tony Welsh, Mark,
Sue and James Mainwaring, and Alex Dickson, who is also our Stage
Manager. The sets are built on Saturdays, ready to be erected in the
Wilde Theatre on the Sunday before each production, with great support
from other members of the Society.
The sets are painted in advance, but need to be finished
in situ. A team of enthusiastic and mainly amateur painters include
regular contributions from Sallie Ward, Sue and Claude Lawrence,
Sara Bowring, Sian Pearson, Vanessa van Nieuwenhuijzen and Irene Dowdall. Clifford King
and Shelia Richards paint much of the detail.
New members of our backstage team are warmly welcomed; please contact
Keith Ward on 01753 854093 or by
Many of our productions are enhanced by movement and dancing. We
have been fortunate to work with The Susan Handy School of Dancing
whose Principal, Susan Handy, has choreographed several of our productions,
notably Hansel and Gretel , for which Susan Handy produced
a ballet of fourteen angels for 15 minutes, and was one of the highlights
of the performance.
Members of our chorus enjoy the challenge of performing sometimes
quite complicated dances, and this was the case in Eugene Onégin
, when Dawn Thompson direted a lively Russian peasant dance
and a stately minuet which were described in a review as "lively
and wittily managed" and "particularly inspired."
Recently, our dancing has been choreographed by Lucy Dickson. A
pupil of Susan Handy, Lucy has been singing and dancing in our productions
since she was five in 1987. Lucy has been responsible for the choreography
of A Masked Ball (in which the ball scene was described
as "memorable and beautifully choreographed"), The
Queen of Spades ("The choreography in this performance
was simply astonishing, perhaps most impressively in the lovely
masque, with its classic shepherds and shepherdesses"), La
Traviata ("We also enjoyed the gypsy dancers, they too
were clearly both trained and experienced dancers who brought a
light hearted touch to the opera: congratulations to Lucy Dickson
who both danced and choreographed") and most recently the movement
in Turandot which included a spectacular ribbon dance.
If you are interested in dancing in our productions, please contact
Lucy Dickson on email@example.com.
Each production requires a huge variety of furniture and hand props,
ranging from desks and thrones to daggers and candelabra. Some of
our props are hired, many more are begged, borrowed and hunted for
in charity shops and antique markets by Vanessa Pleace, who is an
expert at finding just the right object to satisfy the demands of
Many costumes are hired, but for some shows it is necessary to make
certain items. For example, for Faust our costume department
made thirty angel robes; for Aida the lady principals
and the dancers costumes were all made, and in Queen of
Spades all the Russian peasant costumes, including the headdresses
were provided by our Wardrobe team who work tirelessly to make these
beautiful contributions, but would welcome any one who has an interest
in costumes. Please contact our Secretary.
This often underrated, and vitally important aspect of production,
is in the capable hands of Michael Taylor and Oliver Welsh, who
work in co-operation with the set builders to set-up a complete
lighting rig in one day on the Sunday before the production.
Elaine Hawkes has been responsible for make-up for many years. She
specialises in character and historical make-ups; she is ably supported
by Sara Bowring, Rowena Welsh and Susan Moore.
Posters & website
Park Opera's posters and programme covers are designed by Tom Ward – he can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Our website is maintained by Keith
The Queen of Spades - early days in the workshop
The Queen of Spades - erecting the set
The Magic Flute - in pieces on the floor ...
The Magic Flute - one going up ...
The Magic Flute - two up...
The Magic Flute - all up