Build 2019: Day 2

By Giles Moss on July 26th

Thursday 25th July 2019

We build our venues quickly - our build is mainly over 5 days. We go in en masse, with a large crew, and used to spend a day in each venue going from empty rooms to almost-finished, usually finishing at midnight or later, then moving on to a new venue the following day. The venues are later finished properly by the individual venue teams. This ends up pretty exhausting for us all so this year we are trying a new get-in schedule where we build two major venues in parallel across two days each. We even promised ourselves we'd leave the venues at a reasonable time in the evening. Did we make it?

Today we started building four venues at theSpace @ Surgeons' Hall (The Grand Theatre and Theatres 1, 2 & 3). We also started building theSpace on Niddry St.

The Grand starts out by needing its dance floor laid:

Then when the truck turns up it's all hands to the pumps to load in the kit. We formed a human chain up the stairs:

And carried a lot of truss!

Meanwhile at theSpace @ Niddy St, a second massive truck was being unloaded:

In total we had 5 or 6 deliveries today - I lose track a bit. Most venues have separate sound and staging/lighting contracts so we have to orchestrate deliveries between different suppliers. Building venues in parallel adds an extra dimension to this because we have to take into account the hire companies' crew to ensure we let them get to their trucks during the tip.

In addition to the hired kit, we open up our storage containers and pull the production ancilliaries and IT kit out. The result looks a bit chaotic but everything we load in is carefuly checked and diverted to its venue, or left in a central place fo collection later. The Surgeons' Hall foyer starts to look very busy during this phase:

Our crew worked hard all afternoon and by early evening, when we came to down tools for the night, the Niddry St venues were starting to look like theatres.

Niddry Lower:

And Niddry Upper:

The build at the Surgeons' Grand wasn't looking quite so progressed, though the truss did go up after I took the snap:

The Surgeons Grand isn't yet at the hanging lighting point, but the soca cables went in and the lights were labelled after I took the photo.

We even had a visitor in the Grand:

With the theatre builds underway the Senior Production Team had a chance to unpack our radios and do yet more labelling:

And thn it was time to send the crew home! It felt unusual, to say the least, to be so happy about leaving venues mid-build. Of course, nothing is left unsafe lest people from our host venues come for a look round while we're away, but every space needs a whole lot more work to get it finished. Tomorrow is the consolidation day; the second day of the build for these venues, though we only have half our crew at work (the other half get the day off - we swap around on Sunday).

The theatres are all starting to take good shape, but tomorrow will be a busy day as we endeavour to get them all to the 'finished' state in advance of starting a whole new set of venus at the weekend.