It’s Day 288 of “365 Things to do in Cincinnati” and today we enjoyed one of the Artswave Sampler Weekend events – a tour of the Playhouse in the Parks’ Scene Shop.
This tour is part of Artswave’s Sampler Weekends. From now until the end of April, you can attend a number of different free creative art-related “samplers”. The events occur all over town and are held on Saturdays. In its 25th year, this is the first year they’ve offered the events on multiple Saturdays. Line ups for upcoming Saturdays include The Cincinnati Symphony, The Cincinnati Ballet, The Art Museum, Cincinnati Mens’ Chorus, and many, many more. Not only is this a great opportunity to sample the arts, some of these events give you an inside look into buildings that you wouldn’t normally be able to get into… like the Playhouse in the Parks’ Shop Department.
Today we got to take a tour that took us through the behind the scenes action for the Playhouse. The building we toured is their stage/scenery/prop department. It’s in a building all its own, separate from the Playhouse. It’s actually quite separate, being located on Gilbert Avenue.
Our wonderful tour guides were Jen (Asst. Technical Director) and Anna (Props). The success of a tour is largely dependent upon the quality of your guides and I will say that this was a fantastic tour! They did a great job. They love their jobs and it shows!
One of the most amazing parts of the tour was the costume room. They have rows upon rows of shirts, coats, dresses, etc. The picture above shows just one of the racks of shoes they have on hand. They had at least ten of these on the end of the room we were on and it appeared that they also lined the opposite wall.
We learned all about scene designs and stage layouts and just what goes into putting all of the stuff together on a stage. Not only do these very talented craftsmen have to build stages, they often have to engineer special effects and rework elements in a design. In the picture below you’ll see Jen demonstrating an effect they are testing for an upcoming play. The director would like to have a wall of sand around an actress on stage. They’re trying to determine how to make that happen and built this prototype…
Our tour ended with a trip through the paint department. The effects these people can achieve is nothing short of amazing. Today they were working on making large sheets of foamboard look like weathered barn wood. And if you didn’t know you were looking at foam and not wood, you would believe it was old barn wood. Truly amazing.
And here’s one more fun image for you from the paint department. We got a kick out of the names on their paint cans…
The Playhouse Stage Department Tours are only available during the Artswave Sampler Weekend. Be sure to watch for this tour next year. It’s one behind-the-scenes tour that you don’t want to miss.
Be sure to check out ArtsWave Sampler Weekend opportunities coming up. I know I will be scouring the Saturday schedules and planning my weekend very soon!