Some plays need detailed artwork say for a background, which has to be matched to the physical parts of the set. The design for this has to be drawn and agreed with the Director and Set Designer.
When construction has started and some parts of the set are built, the painting team can join in.
Before the time comes to paint, the first job to be done is to clean the old paint from the canvas ‘flats’. This is a messy job involving ladders, hot water and scrubbing pads. Old clothes are essential.
This is followed by ‘papering over the cracks’ which aptly describes what is actually done.
The efforts of the paint team make a very rough construction look very realistic.
The Stage Paint used is a pigment powder, mixed in the right proportions with hot water, glue size and a fireproofing chemical. This is a tricky business, get it wrong and the paint comes off on everything that touches it, or it will not cover properly or the colour will be wrong.
The paint has to be kept hot while it is applied, the smell of this gives The Archway backstage area a very distinctive atmosphere!