Since the Otterhayes Managers offered us a workshop as a dedicated studio space we have been renovating the main set salvaged from the original drama building. It is an excellent working space and we are lucky to have use of it, but when we took it over, it certainly did not look much like the bridge of a star ship! The first task, after thoroughlyleaning the place, was to arrange for a local company to install a new suspended ceiling – Macrotech did a marvellous job with this which meant that we could then begin to rebuild the main set.
The group has been busy on Thursday drama days with dismantling the panels of the old set, followed by drilling and screwing battens to the walls to make a foundation for new wall panels. We have also been making and painting new consoles and many other important jobs. One of these has been the making a partition wall in order to create the bridge space, but has had the extra effect of creating a storage area – very important!
Finally, at the beginning of December, having given attention to many important details and having solved a thousand problems, the new bridge set was more-or-less complete and so ready enough for a celebration of its change of use. This took place on the 5th December 2019. It was good to see eight project contributors come along and witness Stephanie cut a ribbon marking this significant moment and give a short speech where she renamed the space, The Silverhawk Film Studio.
The good news for the project is it enables us to have whatever sets we needed in place on a semi-permanent basis where we are able to rehearse the story in an authentic ‘filmic’ environment each week.
So we continue to gradually move forward and the drama group’s sense of optimism has improved as 2019 unfolded. Our aims remain the same in that we want those in the group to be involved in all aspects of the production and to make a film that will engage a general audience, where they will say ‘those people with learning difficulties did a good job there!
The current plan is that we will recommence filming in the very near future which means there has been almost a two-year delay with our plans. However, the intervening period has not been wasted but has allowed us to improve the set and props and also helped develop an improved infrastructure for the project in terms of specialist human resources.
We have been fortunate to have several contributors helping out with the many essential jobs whenever they have been able to. Many thanks to:
Simon Tytherleigh – Videographer and Film Editor: Simon has continued to make regular visits to Otterhayes throughout 2019 and most recently has been filming a flypast for the model Silverhawk. Over time he has built an excellent relationship with the actors in the group and also is a mine of information and advice. During the last few months he has regularly assisted the group members in constructing the set.
Evered ‘Woody’ Woodward – Drama Production Maker: Woody is skilful maker with many years’ experience of designing and constructing theatre sets. He has been invaluable in installing the ships main screen (donated by Richer Sounds) and also a fire door which he cleverly disguised as an emergency escape airlock : )
Mark Cassidy – Actor: Mark, in between running a theatre company which tours schools and community venues, plays the role of The Emperor of the Purple Quadrant (EPQ) in the Silverhawk story. He visits Otterhayes regularly to rehearse, establishing a good rapport with members of the drama group and also has been helping out with painting set batons silver – an important job!
Cicely Rose Bond – Volunteer: Cicely is a student with interests in all things creative. She was responsible for making most of the new panels we needed for the new space. This entailed meant her cutting big sheets of card to the correct size, pasting them with silver paper and then cutting holes in them and making them look suitably old and dishevelled. Thanks Cis!
Chris Scott– Volunteer: Chris has been assisting with battening and attaching wall panels but most usefully busied himself with making the new and pristine ceiling look suitably old and battered!
Ron Winterwood – Electronics Maker: Our ship’s bridge needed some new consoles with buttons to press and LED’s to light up accompanied by appropriate SFX sounds. Ron as usual has been on the case with installing all the necessary electronics which he accomplished in his usual quiet and skilful way.
Karen Bowler – Costume Maker: although not directly involved with the set rebuild, Karen has been a skilled and supportive presence during the making period of the latter half of 2109. Not just has she been responsible for some amazing left-field costumes has been around for such things as drama rehearsals and puppet-making workshops. She helps things go smoothly and is liked and appreciated by everyone!