Lectures and demonstrations
During the Wood and Canvas congress we recorded and documented all the lectures and presentations. They are listed in alphabetic order of the presenter.
Chris Abbott, King’s College London, United Kingdom
In traditional pantomime, the SL trap is essential for the appearance of the malevolent agent, and other traps in the stage floor and flats are essential for scenes such as the Haunted Bedroom in Cinderella or the “going through the mangle” scene in Aladdin.
A project currently in the planning stage aims to bring together the written details of routines from the 1940s and earlier, as published in Putting on Panto to pay for the Pinter (Abbott, 2012) with drama students, scenographer and a suitable theatre, in order to recreate and record some of these routines.
Chris Abbott is Reader in e-Inclusion at King's College London. In addition to his interests in accessible performance and disability, he writes and reviews on aspects of popular performance, including puppet theatre, circus and British pantomime. His book Putting on Panto to Pay for the Pinter (Hobnob Press 2012) deals with twentieth century pantomime and includes the transcription of a book of gags and routines.
Jiří Bláha, Foundation of Baroque Theatre of Český Krumlov Castle, Czech Republic
The Palace theatre in Český Krumlov (1766) is used for guided visits, but experimental productions using original machinery are occasionally held as well. Show More
Jiří Bláha is conservator, art historian. Worked on research and conservation of some 18th century Czech palace theatres. Cooperator and member of board of the Baroque Theatre Foundation of Český Krumlov Castle, as its delegate member of board of PERSPECTIV -- Association of Historic Theatres in Europe.
Idan Braslavi, Braslavi Architects Ltd., Israel
Description: “The Tel-Aviv Culture Palace, the residence of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, had become acoustically and technically limiting over the years. Show More
The old pyramid array, comprising the hall’s ceiling, blocked excess to the new stage machinery needed. But the hall, a National Heritage Building, could not be altered.
To resolve this impossibility a new approach had to be taken – A disappearing ceiling.
This is the development of a retracting, and deploying ceiling, allowing the stage machinery to be used, while preserving the hall’s original look and atmosphere.”
Reinhold Daberto, Daberto + Kollegen Planungsgesellschaft: Theater Projekte, Germany
What are the typical movements which could be performed with baroque machineries and have these movements changed in contemporary set changes? Show More
Reinhold Daberto is an architect, working his whole professional life on theatres and the relationship of architecture and technics. He runs his consulting firm theapro, based in Munich, Germany. He has been serving Chair of OISTAT's Architecture Commission for several years.
Per Simon Edström, Arena Theater Institute Foundation & Perspectiv & Swedish Theatre Technicians Union, Sweden Show More
Born in Stockholm 1929. Started academic studies in theatre history for Agne Beijer in Stockholm 1949. Together with Marianne Berit mime studies for Etienne Decroux in Paris and practical farce and acrobat studies for Augusto Lesy in Gymnase Acrobat de Pigalle in Paris in the 1950s. Still studying theatre 2012. Working in theatre since 1953 as playwright, director, set designer, actor, theatre technician, theatre architect and producer and still is doing so. Lost his theatre earned money as theatre owner at Hallwylska Palatset 1958, Tivoliteatern 1959, Arenateatern på Djurgården 1960-1963 and Arena Theatre Boat since 1968. 1982-1984 reconstruction and rebuilding of the wooden theatre machinery of Ystads Proscenium Theater from 1884. Chairman for the Republican (Antiroyalistic) Sailors Yacht Club in the kingdom of Sweden. Member of OISTAT's History & Theory Commission, member of the Academie de Cirque de Suède
Bruno Forment, Ghent University/Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Compiled in the early 20th century and currently held at the Felixarchief (Antwerp), the “Indicateurs des décors de répertoire” document the use of +3,000 flats, drops, and props in 134 operas and operettas at the Théâtre Royal (Bourla) in Antwerp. Show More
Bruno Forment is lecturer in music and opera history at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and postdoctoral fellow (FWO) at Universiteit Gent. He has published widely on the history of opera, and in particular on 18th-century opera seria and stage design. Since 2008, he has been working intensively on the "Dubosq" collection in Kortrijk, Europe's largest holding of historical stage sets. He has recently edited the proceedings volume Revaluing theatrical heritage: chalenges and opportunities and created Dido verlaten, a music theatre production with period orchestra Il Fondamento, actor Jos Verbist and the poet Flor Deqlercq.
Peter Ruthven Hall, United Kingdom
I will draw on 9 case studies to illustrate a talk about how we in the UK are working with rakes. I will include a theatre that has lost character by removal of the rake contrasted with one that has not; Show More
Dominique Lauvernier, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (HISTARA), Paris & Caen University, France
The preserved machineries were built in the last thirty years of the 18th century, and most of them in the 19th century, when the european stage machinery became simplified and normalized; Show More
Jean-Guy Lecat, theatrEurope vzw, France
Last year I have to do a set for the opera ‘Guillaume Tell’, which is a challenge for any set designer as the story needs: a village, a lake with a boat, a house in montages, a castle in montage that had to burn and a happy end with what is considered in Suisse land a revolution. Show More
Space designer, developer of architecture, world-renowned theatre designer, theatre maker, and theatre architecture design consultant, Jean-Guy Lecat devotes himself fully to the transformation of space for performance. He is untiring in his exploration of the interaction of theatre and architecture, design and performance, space and storytelling.
Jerome Maeckelbergh, theatrEurope vzw, Belgium
This presentation will give reactions on the feasibility study ordered by the City of Antwerp on the renovation of the Bourla theatre. Pointing out the weaknesses of the study, specifically on the pretended ameliorations of sight lines and pretended upgrade of the auditorium. Show More
Jerome studied Fine Arts (painting and sculpture) at the Royal Academy of Antwerp, and then drunk too much with student actors who later became director. This resulted in a scenographers career starting in 1974. He has designed more than 50 productions, combining this with designing and making special props, masks and sculptures for countless other productions.
Jerome Maeckelbergh, theatrEurope vzw, Belgium
On the hand of a scale model, in the first part of this presentation, solutions will be shown for companies who have complaints and problems to play or make a production on a raked floor. Show More
In the seventies, Jerome worked many times as scenographer for the KJT (the Royal Youth Theatre) performing at the Bourla theatre. Problem there was that the KJT performed parallel with the KNS (Royal Dutch Theatre): Wednesday, Saterday and Sunday afternoon the stage was for the KJT, but they were not allowed to use bars that were in use for the adult perfomances of the KNS. As way out of this restrictions he discovered the possibilities of the historical understage machinery. It was strongly discouraged by the then technical director as this machinery was not used since time immemorial and thefore unreliable. Luckily Jerome, still young and reckless, forced through that crazy idea to discover that all that machinery still worked well and smooth.
John Mayberry, York University, Canada
I will explore the phenomenon that was observed at our performances of “The Sphinx”, where many people accustomed to seeing all manners of wonders through the “magic” of modern digital technology, were completely confused to learn that our illusion was done without any such thing. Show More
Torsten Nobling, Drottninghom Castle Theatre, Sweden
Martien van Goor, Greiner, Van Goor, Huijten Architecten BV, Netherlands
The Koninklijke Schouwburg Theatre in The Hague as an example. In 1802, prominent citizens of The Hague rented a palace and transformed it into a theatre. Show More
Architect, director of Greiner Van Goor Huijten Architecten, Amsterdam. Some of his projects include renovation and expansion of Royal Theatre Carré, Amsterdam (2003); new theatres in Zwolle (2007) and Assen (2012; and the renovation and expansion of Schouwburg Kunstmin in Dordrecht (2011)
Cornelis (Casey) van Sebille, Adelaide College of the Arts, Australia
The revitalisation of flexible wooden stage machinery may be served by locating power and control in the hands of the audience as a narrative engaging experience. Show More
David Wilmore, Theatresearch, United Kingdom
Although architects wrote about theatre architecture in the nineteenth century, very little was written by practising stage machinist, much of which has had to be rediscovered by “trial and error” interspersed with inspiration and perspiration. Show More
David Wilmore was educated at the Newcastle University where he became involved with the restoration of the Tyne Theatre & Opera House. On Christmas Day 1985 the stage house was gutted by fire and he spent the next two years restoring the theatre a second time. He formed theatresearch in 1986 and has been involved in many theatre restoration projects including the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, Theatre Royal Newcastle upon Tyne, and the Gaiety Theatre & Opera House, Isle of Man. He has a PhD in the development of nineteenth century stage technology, is a past Chairmanof the Association of British Theatre Technicians, and a Leverhulme Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Manchester researching James Winston and The Theatric Tourist.
Rens Planckaert and Chris Van Goethem, Expertise Centre for Technical theatre RITCS - EhB
The one to four scale model was built to research and present hands-on wooden machinery. Participants had the opportunity to try themself and discover the finesses of this amazing equipment.Show More
The final panel
The conference ended on Sunday 15 June with a Final Panel, with a first part gathering comments from the attendants on the content offered in this conference, and a second part having a confrontation with the different involved parties in the renovation/restoration of the Bourla theatre who defended their plans. This was very courageous from them, as they hadn’t attended any of the previous presentations. Video captions of this Final Panel can be seen on this page.